Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Fox Sports West 2 (motto: "For when one channel of Van Earl Wright and Big Sky football just won't suffice") is currently showing something called "Laker Living Room". Basically, the concept is that you watch [owner's daughter/Phil Jackson main squeeze] Jeanie Buss, Mrs. Shaq, Mrs. Kurt Rambis, Lisa Leslie, and Leeann Tweeden (from the network) as they, um, watch the Laker game. It's kinda like watching Mystery Science Theater, if Joel, Mike and the bots were sleeping with Lee Van Cleef, Mamie Van Doren, and Roger Korman. And Lisa Leslie was there.

They actually started with a segment where they asked whether the various players "Got Game" based on how they dressed entering the arena. To the shock and dismay of none, everybody got game except for Devean George. This is officially the low point in the history of sports, TV, irony, the Los Angeles Basin, and round things.

I love the smell of popcorn popping, almost as much as I love the smell of cinnamon rolls baking.

Someone was making this stuff today in the break room at work; it didn't taste as good as it smelled, but then that wouldn't have been physically possible.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Sometimes you really learn something about yourself. Like when you type your name into googlism. They're right--I am responsible for over. (Meme courtesy of cybele.)

Googlism for: joe wright

joe wright is senior pastor of central christian church in wichita
joe wright is only 21 years old
joe wright is a self taught computer guru that utlizes a large lan to create websites
joe wright is witness to the marriage of henry and mary ann fletcher
joe wright is pastor of
joe wright is the pastor of central christian church in wichita and was guest chaplain that day
joe wright is that the grayling are like rabbits
joe wright is among the founding members of trash and
joe wright is the senior pastor of central christian church in wichita
joe wright is my cousin and i thought maybe you would like to know that the rev smith did as you said
joe wright is minister
joe wright is a health educator who has worked for san francisco's stop aids project and the san francisco department of public health
joe wright is a victim of an unjust three strike's cases
joe wright is supposed to call on "8/14" does not constitute a basis to make a determination that wright with a crew of 20
joe wright is one of the best new young musicians to make his mark on the folk scene in recent years
joe wright is a soldier of god
joe wright is a complete entertainer
joe wright is responsible for over
joe wright is currently the deputy prosecuting attorney in idaho county
joe wright is cool
joe wright is one of
joe wright is senior pastor and confirming the facts of the message
joe wright is right choice
joe wright is right
joe wright is a senior lecturer in design and construction management
joe wright is a unix administrator and programmer at syntegra
joe wright is exactly what’s needed in our society at this crucial
joe wright is located 3
joe wright is a music dsp guru
joe wright is all the code for generating a band limited lookup table and also the code for using the
joe wright is buried in arkansas
joe wright is in new
joe wright is found here
joe wright is handling the reservation
joe wright is senior pastor of central christian church
joe wright is coordinating this year's event
joe wright is no longer involved with
joe wright is sick with typhoid; little bessie wright is better
joe wright is the pastor received more than 5
joe wright is best known for the prayer he prayed at the kansas state legislature
joe wright is shown at the following web site
joe wright is pastor
joe wright is the champ with 245 points
joe wright is an excellent shooter
joe wright is in good health and alert

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Oh yeah, in other news, big envelope from USC, small envelope from Berkeley. There are two plausible readings for the latter. One is that I'm going to Michigan, because law school admissions are highly structured and it's unlikely that one will get in a top 3 school if one has been rejected anywhere else. Two is that Berkeley is a special case because it is required by state law to have highly numbers-based admissions, so it can't take into account intangibles such as a good personal statement or experience working in law in the same way other schools can if they so choose. So this either tells me that I won't or that I might get into one of the big 3. So, as usual, my point is basically that I have no point.

Busy day: gym, IHOP, Amoeba, Hooters, Starbucks, Farmer's Market.

I'll elaborate.

I got back to the gym Monday morning after two and a half weeks off for annoyingly persistent headcold. I made it in there Tuesday and Wednesday too, then took Thrusday off because I had to work early in order to see the Sour 16 game. I didn't make it in Friday either, for no good reason at all, but I got up a 6 this morning and went right in.

Quick digression: until I left USC almost 2 years ago, I had been working with Omar, a personal trainer there, for close to two years. At our last session he gave me a copy of his training bible, the Governator's book. I've finally been reading it a bit this week, so this morning I tried some new exercises--specifically, Arnold presses and preacher curls. Suffice it to say I'm trying to type fast, because sometime soon my arms will be immobile for a day or two.

The IHOP/Amoeba/Hooters portion of the day came because Tom is in town for a wedding, so I played L.A. tour guide a bit today. We spent a good bit of time at the greatest record store anywhere, (TRASHionals attendees be very afraid--I did some prize shopping) and saw Hollywood, Koreatown, and Santa Monica a little more generally. After leaving Tom in Santa Monica, I popped my head into the new Hear Music Starbucks on the Promenade--an interesting idea, even though I didn't buy anything. Then I went to a normal Starbucks, where I pretty much read The Heat Is On cover-to-cover. I don't think it's happening right now, but I could easily go on a Chester Himes kick; I've been wanting to pick up some of his mysteries ever since I first encountered Grave Digger and Coffin Ed in the film Cotton Comes To Harlem.

Finally, I just came back from the first LA Blogs get together for Angeleno bloggers. Good times. I got to meet some interesting people such as Cybele, wildbell, and Jay, and got to hear Farmer's Market karaoke ranging from not good to not bad. Other than the 20 miserable minutes spent trying to park, it was a fun outing, and hopefully it will fulfill my primary purpose in going--being inspired to start writing more frequently again.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Yeah, my bracket's toast, but so's yours so what's it to you?! (And if Mulder know what's good for him--and 8:30 p.m. Friday is evidence that he does--he'll keep his distance.)

Have you ever wondered what the video for a techno remix of Hooked on a Feeling as performed by David Hasselhoff would look like? Wonder no more.

Come down from your Hasselhoff-induced high with this video of Bjork beating up a reporter. (Both links courtesy of KROQ.)

My job is going well in all aspects except for one, one which periodically makes me daydream about quitting and temping between now and law school. That aspect is Ed. Ed is my office-mate and quasi-boss. I guess technically he's my supervisor but not my manager. Why do I know that? Because Ed once spent ten minutes explaining the distinction between "supervisor" and "manager" to our (undisputed) boss Doug. Ed is capable of semantic feats that boggle my mind, and I wrote an application essay describing myself as "Semantics Boy". It's unbelievable.

Now, I should say that 80-90% of the time, I get along with Ed just fine. In a different context we may have been friends, and hell, for all I know he thinks we are. We're both grad school refugees, and we can talk about certain common intellectual interests at length.

But there are a few problems.

Problem 1: The Bell Curve. At some point, Ed read this book. At some later point, I happened to mention that I had read about the history of eugenics during grad school. At every subsequent point, which is about 6 months now, The Bell Curve (a book I haven't read, and don't plan to read) has come up in conversation an average of four times a week.
Problem 2: Jeff Stryker, and porn more generally. I've watched my share of adult entertainment in my life (and possibly yours and someone else's), but I don't want to talk about the subject with a queenie 50-something guy who is way into Jeff Stryker.
Problem 3: the temper. Ed's temper is almost always directed at Ed/Ed's own problems. That's a good thing. But here's the thing. I'm very much a Type-B personality--I don't snap, I'm even keeled when sports aren't involved, and I generally take things in stride. Ed has a stroke if it takes him two seconds too long to find a pencil, and he wears it all over his face. He gets red-faced and has horrifically pained expressions at the slightest thing, sometimes accompanied by storming out of the room. Ed's stress level is so high, he gives me stress. I remember a Beetle Bailey cartoon one time where someone explained that Sarge isn't the type to get a heart attack, he's just a carrier. Ditto Ed.
Problem 3A: that hand thing. Ed's stress freak-outs (which happen approximately on the half hour on average) are often accompanied by this hand gesture that is so odd I can't describe it except to say that I always get the distinct impression that if I punched him in the face at the right moment, I'd earn a star punch. Yes, I work with 50-something, gay, chain-smoking Bald Bull.
Problem 4: the condescension. There's a lot of it. Ed starts by assuming you know everything he knows. As soon as that's proven even slightly wrong, he assumes that you know absolutely nothing at all. There's no in between.

I'm sure there's more, but my venting is losing momentum. I'm sure I'll have new fodder by tomorrow afternoon though. Ugh.

Friday, March 19, 2004

OK, I'm still really bad at this, but it's worth noting that I'm two Saluki points and one double OT game going the other way away from having a perfect first day. This is unprecedented. Of course, I've had good first Thursdays before, only to be destroyed like Krakatoa on day 2, and left sobbing in the corner by the end of the weekend. (I once got four, yes four, Sweet 16 teams right--I almost had to leave the country.)

I'll be spending the weekend in San Diego so that both Gourab and I can claim the we were being social, when in fact we spent upwards of 30 hours over the course of 2.5 days watching hoops. Good times.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

No time to post the whole bracket, but just for the record (and with the warning that I'm very, very bad at this), I've got Alma Mater to win, Stanford to place, and Mississippi State and Georgia Tech to show. Biggest upset of the first round is UIC over Kansas; I think this is the first time I've ever not picked either a 14, 15, or 16 upset, meaning that one is inevitable.

Monday, March 15, 2004

So at first I was a little bit bitter about alma mater's fate going into the NCAAs. The 3 seed and the going to Milwaukee to possibly face Wisconsin thing suck.


Here's are the teams and RPIs that made up the Panthers' daunting non-conference schedule:

Alabama (NYC Coaches v. Cancer) (22)
St. Francis PA (234)
Robert Morris (229)
Albany (308)
"at" Duquesne (169)
Penn State (145)
Youngstown State (252)
Georgetown KY (NAIA)
Chicago State (209)
Murray State (71)
Florida State (47)
New Hampshire (277)
Georgia (50)
William & Mary (256)

There's one neutral site game in there and one "road" game that involved a bus trip of a good 5 miles (round trip). Two tournament teams, three other major conference teams, and a whole lot of super mediocrity. Pitt's been scheduling like this for years, and it's always bothered me--and now it's come back to possibly haunt us in a season where we're a legitimate threat for the Final Four. Admittedly, Duquesne and Robert Morris are intra-city games Pitt should be playing, and playing Penn State in basketball makes up almost a whole 1% for not playing them in football. Also, who knew Georgia would have a down year.

But still, for a team that's been in the top 20 and often the top 10 over the past three seasons, Pitt should have no trouble scheduling quality opponents, and they really need to start if they want to make an impression on Selection Sunday.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Craig hasn't done the "Shocked, Louie, just shocked" bit in a while, so if I may:

Knicks are the NBA team stupid enough to take on Vin Baker.

Speaking of free agents, I have mixed feelings leaning negative on the Steelers' Duce Staley signing.


1. Five years, $14 million is not nearly as bad of a contract as I might have expected
2. God knows we needed a new feature back.
3. No really, it was bad--Zereoue is done, and Bettis ran for 3.0 per carry even when he played well last year down the stretch.
4. Staley is a Steeler mold, solid-citizen type of player.
5. He has probably learned to spell chrysanthemum by now.


1. Running back is the most eminently replaceable non-kicking, non-long snapping position in the league. Every year some back named Davis is drafted on the second day and ends up rushing for 1200 yards as a rookie. You can get one cheap without even spending a high pick.
2. Staley is 29, which is starting to approach old (if and only if you're a running back, I might add!).
3. It's unclear how good of a feature back Staley is, especially in an offense not built around a lot of passes to backs.
4. It seems like every team in the league has signed a shutdown corner in the off-season except the Steelers, who apparently thought bringing on Chris Gardocki was more of a priority. Every moment spent addressing any other need is a moment wasted until that need is taken care of.

Bottom line: I don't really like the signing, but I'm glad it didn't totally break the bank. I'll like it a whole lot better if it still allows us to make some moves to improve our pass defense.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be focusing all my sports energy on the Panthers' upcoming tourney run, because after that it could be ugly for a while for Pittsburgh sports.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Someone told me something a couple of weeks ago so unfathomable that I put it out of my mind until it occurred to me to look it up today. It turns out to be true: the actress who played Jerry Seinfeld's mom was once engaged to James Dean. Perhaps more disturbing: I hadn't realized that she was also Raquel Ochmonek.

For a couple of years now I've been expecting to wake up some morning to the news that some random African country has gotten a 10-year, $2 billion contract to rename itself "Niketown" or, more tastefully, "Zambia, presented by Starbucks."

But this, which I would be able to see from the front stoop of my apartment building, just blows. Couldn't they just put the "Land" back?

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Some quick shots:

For ironic (and nostalgic) football fans, the Post-Gazette has a nice 20-year retrospective on the Pittsburgh Maulers today.

Also, on football, it's not real timely given that neither player is with the team anymore, but The Athletic Reporter gets mad props for the T.O.-Jeff Garcia story, because who doesn't like a good "Jeff Garcia is clearly gay" joke.

Speaking of Mad Props, I voted in California for the first time this past week. I'm not going to say my district is a bit off the beaten path, but our polling place was a wedding service business run out of someone's house. Democracy always works best with the proprietor's screaming children running around your feet, I feel. Three of the four props passed, while the one I cared about of course was knocked down 2-1. It also kinda sucked that by the time I voted for John Edwards, MSNBC was already reporting that he'd dropped out of the race. If I'd have known that, I would've thrown a protest vote to Sharpton--if only so he got at least one vote in Koreatown.

Sorry to Bill, and anyone else, who mistook my post-UCLA reaction as crankiness. I was going for perspective and trying to get across the idea that my main emotion was relief, not so much euphoria. Make no mistake--I really appreciate the congrats.

I'm trying to work crazy hours for the next week and a half or so, both for some time off for March Madness, and also because I'm trying to get cash together for Michigan's preview weekend over April 1st weekend. (Jeff proposed maybe we'll all get there and it's just a big gag; I guess we'll find out.)

My headcold is now officially in triple-dip mode. I think I last breathed through a nostril around Super Bowl Sunday.

I've been listening to a lot of Violent Femmes lately. Actually, I've been listening to a little bit of the Violent Femmes, but I've been listening to it over and over. Add It Up, I Held Her in My Arms, 36-24-36, American Music, and most pronouncedly Kiss Off are just some catchy damn songs.

If I'd been healthy today, I would've gone walking in the mountains because it was an absolutely picture perfect L.A. day--no smog, no clouds, close to 80 degrees, just as good as it gets. Instead, I just went driving. I ended up on one of those canyon roads you only get in the U.S. West--15 miles of two lanes, switchbacks, beautiful vistas, extreme fear of death, and 15-30 mph driving. Except when that road is CA Route 23, the last half mile looks like you are driving straight into the Pacific Ocean. Beautiful, scary, and all. It's the type of road that was invented for sports car commercials. Then I drove back toward the city, going through Malibu, where I'd never been before. As far as I can tell, Malibu isn't so much of a town as it is a 15-mile stretch of beach and scattered enormous mountains in the hills. Nice place to live, but I wouldn't want to visit there.

I would've been blogging all week, but every time I get on the computer lately I just end up playing a lot of Spades on Yahoo Games. Where I'm headed now...

...except, first to say, CHRIS GARDOCKI?!?!?!?!?!?!

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Once again plans for a longer post pre-empted by good news: I got into Michigan!!

What that means is unclear--the rest of my schools fit pretty well into a pecking order, but Michigan has always been the wild card of the bunch. It almost certainly trumps UCLA, but other than that, we'll just have to see how things play out.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

I was gonna post a summary of Jeff and my best Oscar quotes here, but then I got busy doing my FAFSA and watching the new Teen Girl Squad about 10 times.

OK, 2 quick ones though:

"I'd like to thank whoever turned the air conditioning way up for Angelina Jolie's presentation."

"I wonder if Roman Polanski will come back to give that girl from Whale Rider her Oscar."