(9-18 August 2006)

18 August 2006
-Watched "Proof" with Em last night & it intrigued me in the same way that all genius-turned-crazy-person movies intrigue me.  My Dad always told me to not play with that line crossing over into crazy, but sometimes I still do.  I'm always interested in seeing how much control over their decline people are depicted as having, what the breaking points are, what the critical mass of crazy is, & how much they can do while crazy.  I'm a little disappointed at what I see as an inaccuracy that people can't do genius-level work while going "crazy".  Because they can, & do, in real life.  Often they need to enter crazy to get the job done.  Still, "Proof" had some really fine acting & a good bit of insight, if not making every point I would want.  It did seem to defend "craziness" as a viable option sufficiently to make me happy.
-Flying to LA straight from work this evening, for a madcap weekend that will involve lots of friends, Disneyland, & the Mariners playing at a stadium I've never been to.  Updates possible from the road (I've written the weekend's D&C's, but will try to release them daily as Russ & Mesco both have internet connections), but I might be having too much fun to write it all down immediately.  I'm pretty pumped about seeing everyone.

17 August 2006
Happy Birthday to Matt Frese
-I felt like it was Friday all day.  This trend of thinking it's Friday on Thursdays is weird.  But so many people at work take Fridays off, that I guess it's contextually explicable.  Our Summer Program is winding down, so temporary people I've gotten to know will disappear forever.  Which reminds me of how I didn't really maintain contact with any Seneca folks, except for the poker night crew, & even that's well over now.  Part of me is inclined to blame that loss of contact on the imprint of pain that Seneca had, & that reaching out to people from that experience feels like dipping my hand back into the trauma of the years spent there.  It's hard to separate them, & of course it would be the main thing we'd talk about.  But I also have to be honest with myself that I have the world's worst track record at keeping in touch with people I met through jobs.  When I quit, I tend to completely vanish.  I never once again contacted a soul from my library jobs, even though they were very nice & exhorted me to do so.  Whenever I list references on job applications, I pray that these people have forgiven me for literally never speaking to them since my last day working for them.  RMI (Em's Dad) excepted, of course.  I get the sense that this is highly unusual, but I still can't will myself to contact these folks, especially the more time that lags.  There are people I miss from Seneca, though.  Though the main one moved to Sacramento.  As always, there are just too many friends in this too-large world, & time is never as tame as it should be.

16 August 2006
-For the first time in a while, I had plenty of work to do today.  I don't want to give the impression that my job is devolving into my old library jobs in the Bay Area suburbs, but there are just times when everyone I ask for work tells me I'm caught up with things & yet I don't have quite enough time to go work on ongoing basement archival projects, or I have to cover the phone & make sure that if something urgent comes down the pike, someone's there to respond.  I get the feeling they didn't envision this as a job with downtime, but that's just because they expected someone who doesn't work as fast as I do.  As my last task today, I sent out the minutes from today's Managers Meeting at 5:03, shortly after one of my bosses had told me that most anyone whose task it was to release minutes would do so shortly before the next meeting, not hours after the meeting was held.  Of course, the minutes are only really useful for the intervening week between that meeting & the next one, other than for responding to investigations months or years down the line.  I guess I'm continually surprised by people being impressed by what seems obviously just meeting minimum expectations.  But this would be the last thing to complain about... quite the opposite.  It's very convenient & enjoyable to be in this situation.  Plus I'm getting an office next week!
-I told you the Mariners were done.  What a time to fall apart...

15 August 2006
-What a long, strange day.  Something about quietly crunching rote numbers while all my co-workers romped around Great America (a nearby theme park) with the kids.  Getting caught in a messengery middle.  Papers flying, falling, refusing to be corralled.  Being the demonstration victim for the first blanket carry of seven disaster trainees' lives.  Quietly walking out to a San Francisco night glowing in its first cold evening in months, still clinging to summer amidst a shimmering windless downtown skyline.  Coming home to a cat who has already twice unplugged the sole light on in the apartment, as though trying to convey the message that this day is too somber for anything more than a twinkle.  All right, Pandora.  No lights tonight.
-I don't know whether to be more impressed by the enormous Guardian NewsBlog listing the Book Quiz atop their "Links we like" section today (scroll down about a page-view & a half, on the right) or baffled by their inability to accurately describe the quiz.  "What writer are you?"  That's not even close!  Are you sure you like this link?

14 August 2006
-A's 5, Mariners 4.  Tonight, I watched the Mariners season end.  It was heartbreaking in every possible way that a baseball game can be heartbreaking.  The M's had zillions of opportunities to crack the thing wide open.  Adrian Beltre swung at a 3-0 pitch with runners on second & third & nobody out, when he was almost guaranteed to walk the bases loaded.  Instead, he popped out on that swing, & the M's didn't score that inning.  Willie Bloomquist hit his first homer of the season, maybe of a couple seasons.  Mark Lowe threw a pitch 101 miles an hour.  Several others hit 100.  He continued his streak of 17 2/3 major league innings pitched without surrendering a run.  The M's finally cracked Barry Zito, finally cracked the A's, finally cracked the A's in their park.  & then Nick Swisher took a 3-1 pitch a foot over the wall in right, with Ichiro desperately trying to climb the wall.  & that was it.  Inning, ballgame, season.  The game wasn't officially over until Ichiro inexplicably got called out on a pickoff move that surprised everyone in the stadium.  Another missed opportunity.  Another chance.  I know that the team is absurdly young & that next year could really be the year.  But Moyer's probably done, & without starting pitching, how does a team take it to the next level?  This really looked like the year for a while.  Maybe just in comparison to the last few.  But barring 1995's reincarnation (& honestly, with 14 straight losses to the AL West, how could that happen now?), it's over.  Just devastating.

13 August 2006
-I could really use a good storm.
-Not that kind of storm.  Not that at all.  No one takes me literally anymore.

12 August 2006
-Time for some fun facts.  While my Google Analytics are not by any stretch fully set up as yet, the traffic data from the major pages is giving me a decent glimpse at the profile of my visitors.  The most unique visitors come from LA, Houston, Chicago, & Pompano Beach (FL) respectively.  Albuquerque ranks 6th.  Top international cities include Singapore (10th overall), Helsinki (11th), London (12th), & Perth (17th).  71 countries have contributed visitors this week, including Libya, Mauritius, Oman, & Bosnia-Herzegovina.  UAE (23rd country overall) is actually a major traffic player.  I really could go on & on about all the information I've gleaned.  I could do nothing else for weeks.  I became a little concerned when I noticed some traffic from the Institute for Defense Analyses, with an IP address in Alexandria (VA)... but it turned out the visits had initiated with the search string from Google: what country are you.  Looks like Pentagon spies get bored at work too.
-Watching the M's melt down in the last 10 days has been one of the most frustrating experiences in the last few years of being a Seattle fan.  It's one thing to lose 90 games & just be out of it at the All-Star Break.  But to be 3.5 out in August & then collapse against two of the three teams that really matter?  Even more brutally, they play the AL West so much in the coming months that they still have a chance to turn it around, if they can only figure out how to beat Oakland & Texas.  The odds would say that they're due for big runs against both.  & they've played very well against everyone outside of the AL West.  But dropping 6 straight games to those teams?  I've seen the final pitch of every one & it's been painful.  One of my few solaces has been to play my MVP 2005 video-game season where the M's are 80-40, but Raul Ibanez just went down for 255 days in that one, bringing real life frustrations into the game.

11 August 2006
-Google Analytics is seriously one of the most addicting things ever to be placed on a computer screen.  & that is saying quite a lot.  It feels like it was created by people who were even bigger stat-junkies than I am.  I know that it's aimed at serious businesses & that such groups "need" to know these things, but the prohibitive cost of such trackers prior to this one has always kept people like me out of the stat-junky game.  I think there are people whose job it is to pore over this data & make adjustments accordingly.  I adore my job, but that idea does make me wonder a little...  I guess if the BP ever got big enough, that could be my self-contained job.
-I hate days where I seem to hate everything & I don't even know why.  I am so rarely confused by my emotions that being so throws me off even further than normal.

10 August 2006
-I really thought we were done with the whole airplane danger thing.  To be honest, I kind of still think we are.  I guess it makes sense that they teach people in high school chemistry classes how to make small bombs out of household chemicals, so eventually someone would consider applying this to terrorism.  I still felt like there would be at least a decade hiatus from plane stuff after 9/11, though, & I have to ring the timing bell at least faintly & point to Blair's & Bush's composite poll numbers, which stacked together would still be eye-poppingly low.  & the flights were really going from Blair to Bush?  Really?  Despite all the security in the UK in the wake of the 7/7 stuff?  Really?  You sure?  I'm sure they busted some terrorist operation today, but I wouldn't count on it being everything it's cracked up to be.
-Well, last time I wrote to Mike Hargrove on this blog, it was amazingly effective.  Eddie Guardado was fired as closer just hours after I posted urging Mr. Hargrove to take this action.  So Mike?  If you're out there, it's time to release Joel Pineiro.  It pains me to say this, almost as much as it pained me to say it about Eddie.  I love these guys.  They work hard & they want it.  But they're no good, at least not in Seattle anymore.  Joel hasn't really thrown well in years, & we've all wanted to give him a chance.  But it's time.  The rotation is really solid everywhere else.  Felix is back, Gil is having one of his best seasons, Jamie just needs run support, & even Jarrod, who I still would kind of like to trade, has been great since getting his bursitis dealt with.  But we can't just forfeit every fifth game.  He's won 3 games since May 6th.  His ERA is approaching 6.  Even when he comes out & throws 5 great innings like tonight, if he gives up a couple baserunners, it suddenly becomes a meltdown guaranteed to lose us the ballgame.  There are teams who think this guy's talent gives him some value.  Get Bavasi on the phone & have him test the waters.  Call somebody up from Tacoma, someone the majors have never seen & don't have scouting reports for.  It'll work, trust me.  We can't keep going through games like tonight.

9 August 2006
-Can we please have an anti-war candidate now?
-So Google Analytics amazes me more every few seconds.  Unfortunately, I can't find the invitations function anywhere, despite some saying it exists.  I'm going to look into it more, but if you have to sign up on the site & wait, it's still so very worth it.  The cross-referencing of stats alone is stunning.  To be able to see what cities the people who read Duck & Cover yesterday came from, for example, is just nifty.
-What's not nifty, then?  How about having my whole site down for about four hours this morning?  Still, CoastlandTech rarely has much down-time & it was universal.  Whenever one of their servers goes down, the whole thing does.  So they link your up-time to their own, so you know the incentive is out there for things to come back up.
-What is the internet's obsession with Chuck Norris?  Seriously, people.
-Just updated QFG's answers for the first time in a while.  I think the latest answer to question 26-serious may be my favorite answer of all-time.

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