Thursday, August 31, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

Go out and see this movie please, it's the first time in a LONG time I go to the movies and come out utterly fulfilled. I didn't want this one to end, it was so good.

I haven't felt this way since Requiem for a Dream.

Throw my TV out the window Idea

I've has this idea for a while now, ever since I spent 3 and a half months in Paris a few years ago. The idea was to replicate the environment I was living in at the time, which consisted of going to class from 9-12, then wandering around Paris for a couple hours after lunch, then going back to my apartment, which had no tv and no internet access.

It was one of my most productive times ever, writing-wise.

It made me feel great, especially reading things like A Moveable Feast, right there in Paris.

That, to me, is the writer's lifestyle. I had some random nights where I would go out with friends and walk, drink wine, and talk. It was unbelievable, I loved it.

But as soon as I got on the plane and got home, I turned on the TV and things went back to their usual pace. Which meant less writing, a lot less.

It's just too easy to turn on the TV and sit there for hours on end, especially after work. So I thought (and am currently re-thinking the idea) of just trashing the TV altogether and no renewing my DSL service.

A couple of things:

1) It would be a shot a replicating, if only the environment, of one of the best times of my life.

2) It gives me, just by doing it (whether it's cutting my TV's power cord or giving it away, whatever), something incredibly interesting to write about—the effects of TV deprivation (and deprivation in general) in a society where life without TV is chafed at with a big "Why?"

3) It takes away the temptation, it being the only way I can force myself to get work done. I've learned I do NOT have the discipline to just not turn the TV on and get to work. If I had a TV in Paris I would've rewired the fucking thing just to catch some TV. But I didn't, so all I did was read and write.

So there it is, what do you think? Is this mildly interesting at all? Today I was thinking it would make for a good blog, since I was reflecting that this blog is too "schmorgasborg" (sp?) and not focused enough on one or two specific subjects.

Any thoughts on this?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Web surfing at work, productive?

Interesting article on Yahoo about how surfing the net is the equivalent of a "walk around the block," and how productive it can be.

It makes a good point:

Which brings me to the most important point of all. If you have a significant percentage of employees who are genuinely shirking their responsibilities via constant, mindless Web surfing, you really should consider the possibility that open Web access isn't even close to being your biggest problem.

As HR expert Cenek puts it: "Folks ought to be working hard because they're attracted to the work they're doing."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Credit Cards can be good

It's nice to read an article touting the advantages and perks of using your credit card for every purchase you make. As one of many compulsive, responsible credit-card users, I applaud it.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Papelbon Brothers

Check out what Jeremy, Josh, and Jon Papelbon are doing this season:

Jeremy Papelbon:
67.2 IP, 36 H, 13BB, 72 Ks, 34 Sv

Josh Papelbon (he is in the Boston Red Sox farm system):
24.2 IP, 19 H, 3 BB, 27Ks, 10 Sv

Jeremy Papelbon (In the Cubs' system, Josh's twin brother):
37.2 IP, 23 H, 13 BB, 46 Ks, 3 Sv

Mama must be proud of their combined numbers:

127 IP, 78 H, 29 BB, 144 Ks, 46 Sv


Did you watch the Emmy's? I did, and Conan O'Brien was great, especially that opening skit. It was creative, entertaining, and funny.

But some people don't think so. It seems they are upset with the plane crash sequence, even though no plane crash is actually shown.

This, again, is an example of people being way to sensitive about things.

Gilbert said he plans to ask NBC for an apology.

"They could have killed the opening and it wouldn't have hurt the show at all," Gilbert said. "We wish somebody had thought this through. It's somewhere between ignorance and incompetence."

An apology? What are we, 5?

Guatemalans are a "modest" people

According to this New York Times article on crimes being committed and not reported by Guatemalans in the US.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Baker wrong wrong wrong on OBP

To not be on "the OBP" side of the baseball debate is fine. Whatever, you're entitled. But to say that the big problem with the current Cubs (besides health) is lack of power, not a low OBP, is just plain ignorant.

One area the Cubs appear to be lacking is their on-base percentage. At .318 for the year, the Cubs are last in the National League by a wide margin and ahead of only Tampa Bay (.314) in the majors.

Manager Dusty Baker took his turn addressing the team’s problems Thursday, and he didn’t seem too worried about the lack of baserunners.

“On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage,” Baker said. “On-base percentage just to clog up the bases isn’t that great to me.”

Baker’s focus would be improving the team’s power. The Cubs are tied for 10th in the NL with 124 home runs.

“I think the problem we have to address as much as anything is the home run problem,” Baker said. “They have out-homered us 2-1 in our own ballpark. That’s the bigger problem.”

He's looking at the problem the wrong way. Would you rather have more homeruns than a higher OBP? Maybe, I don't know what would contribute more to a team's chance of winning between picking exclusively between the two.

But the issue is that guys with a higher OBP are just better hitters. They take more pitches, they don't swing at bad pitches, they produce more. That's what you want, guys that have that ability, and OBP is a way to track that, not the other way around.

"Let's hit more Homers" is the wrong attitude.

How many times do we have to go over this?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Internet turning us into a "small town"

I know, it sounds weird. But it's certainly true when we look at ourselves as consumers. Whenever we are paying for a service or product or some event, the most powerful influence on our decision making is word of mouth. If we hear a neighbor tell us this restaurant is good, we'll give it a shot. If someone we know says this book is really good, we'll check it out.

Salesmen are no longer needed here, at least for those who decide to use the awesome power of the internet. Not only can you get what you want for the cheapest possible price, but you can make sure that's the product you want.

It's the reason behind the huge success of Blogs, Customer reviews (first seen by me at, and now everywhere) - you get access to thousands of these opinions. Manufacturers can't really lie to you anymore and expect to succeed in selling you something. The flaws will get out. Bad service will be chided.

What the internet allows us is, as consumers, to get as close as we can to the truth behind a product and to decide whether or not it has everything we want.

Now, whether we really need it or not, that's a whole other issue.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Jill Carroll Story

Very intriguing look at her captors, as written by her.

Immoral Investing or More of the Same?

Check out what Mark Cuban is up to now. His website seeks to publish negative news on certain companies he is shorting, which means, if they go down (as the bad news is meant to do), he makes money.

As bad as it sounds, what's even worse is that this is standard practice, the only difference is that he is doing it out in the open and is an irritating personality.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What I ate yesterday

- A power bar at 9:15am
- One ham and (swiss) cheese sandwich at 2:00pm
- Two generously smeared peanut butter sandwiches at 6:45pm

In all fairness, I was drinking water throughout the whole day, but this is wholly unacceptable.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Camping at Starved Rock

Went camping over the weekend to Starved Rock National Park.

It was the first time I went camping since I was a little kid in the Cub Scouts. I did, however, go hiking in the French Alps a few years ago, and that was kind of an unfair context to judge Starved Rock. The trails were very picturesque, not very challenging—in other words, for the masses to bring their families and all.

The park itself was cool, I had never seen canyons like that in my life, especially the bigger ones.

The camping experience would've been super fun if not for our forgetting to get some sort of inflatable mattress or even padding to put under out tent. We slept maybe 3 hours, which was horrible. The campsites are very clean and non-threatening. By that I mean that it's easy: you drive up, park in your campsite, put up your tent, and you're done.

For some reason I thought it would be "rougher," though I'm glad it wasn't since I couldn't even handle the sleeping part. One of the highlights was finally being complete darkness again, something I haven't seen once since being in Chicago. We got to see the stars at 3:30am too, since we couldn't sleep, which also was incredible.

For those of you from Guatemala, it had as close to a "puerto" vibe as you can get. Not in the crazy party scene way, but in the "get away from it all and go to a place with zero authority" way.

I guess this is "roughing it" these days, which surprised me for two reasons:

a) It was real easy.
b) I wanted it rougher. I thought that if I had any complains, they would be in the opposite direction, but I proved myself to be a rather enthusiastic "camper" and "rougher."

When we got back I passed out for two hours and didn't make sense for three.

A new David Foster Wallace Essay - Federer

He does it again - makes a subject I don't care about or find interesting thoroughly entertaining.

Read it here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Ejaculate like a porn star - Stronger ejaculation (watch where your aiming)

I like the warning in ()

You are not really sociable and have troubles with making out with women.

These spammers are so helpful with my problems, I just wish it said, "making out with the women." We can't have it all I guess

GMail is creepy

I had no idea Google's email service scanned email messages and created "appropriate" ads for whatever is on screen. Creepy.

And there's a whole lot more, too.


Your dick is your weak issue because it is so small.

I have many weak issues

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

PGA Championship at Medinah

I'll be going to the practice round at Medinah tomorrow and have no idea what to expect. All I know is I'll be going with someone much better versed in Golf than I, and that I'll see all the big stars, including Tiger Woods.

I'm thinking of pulling a David Foster Wallace on this one, like he did with the County fair and the Lobster Festival.

We'll see...after all, it's just a practice round.

Nintendo's Wii

I don't know if I've written about the Wii lately but I'm getting really really excited about it. I used to be into video games when I was in middle/high school, then it slowly waned as games failed to grab my attention. My last system was the N64. The last games that really moved me were Zelda's Ocarina of Time and Mario 64.

Then I moved on to the PC, which is where I still kind of am today. I say kind of because I'm not really a gamer anymore. I try the occasional game here and there, but don't really buy any.

Oddly enough, like a kid at a candy store with no money, I still read up on the industry, the new systems, the games, the trends, etc. So I still know what's going, I just don't partake.

But Nintendo has me thinking twice. In an interview, Nintendo's CEO says it best:

Q: What is your plan for getting folks who aren't normally interested in video games to try the Wii?

A: We need to get the consumer to admire what we've done. We need them to say to themselves, "Wow, this new Wii console by Nintendo is really interesting!" And they need to try it. They need to get bought into the proposition.

I've been on the sidelines for a while, always looking in, and I think they may have a grip on me all over again.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Brave New World

by Aldous Huxley

Read it in less than a week, thanks to, what Mindy called, "large type." While that's true, the book itself moved quickly. But seriously, there's something running throughout this book that kept me thinking about what Mindy said. It reads like a book you'd read for a high-school class. Not a bad thing, but just slightly juvenile. The philosophy spread throughout the story is kind of forced and suddenly rears it's head in unexpected ways (solo speeches or weird, highly unlikely conversations).

It's clear that the author is one of the main characters, and once you notice that it makes the read a little awkward and infuses all kinds of things that distract from the story.

I didn't like the feeling, especially towards the end, of being in a philosophy class. I don't read novels to be lectured, I read them to be entertained.

Maybe all this is because I'm jaded - I've read 1984, The Giver, and Animal Farm. Unfair, yes, but that's the breaks.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Who is ranked #3 in tennis?

I remember when Nadal and Federer were having big matches I would check their respective rankings and would always see the same guy at #3, a guy by the name of Ljubicic. I thought to myself, "Who is this guy?" And "It sucks that he's number 3 in the world and I not only have never heard of him but never hear his name anywhere.

And today, randomly, I stumble across this small article detailing his frustration about not being recognized, even at tennis matches by tennis people.

Sucks for you man.

Tragic Youth

A thrilling article about Maurice Clarett and the night he was pulled over with an assault rifle, a 9mm gun, a bullet-proof vest on, and a half-empty bottle of grey goose.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Stock market goes up and down

So every day after the market closes I check to see how the market did. And every day there's a little blurb like this one. "Stocks generally went up" or "Stocks went down" or "Stocks went sideways."

No biggie. But today as I read it what irritated me was the reasons for the decline. How in the hell does anyone proclaim to know why the market went down or why it went up? Unless something major happened (nothing did today), why the hell put that crap in there in the first place? "Consumers were afraid of..." is a bunch of crap.

Just another piece of evidence showing how random the whole market is to begin with on a short-term basis.

AROD Article

A nice, in-depth article at Arod and why we like to dislike him so much.

The ESPN Phone

You've seen the ads all over the place, and today it hit me that this service is aimed directly and almost exclusively at fantasy sports players. Your average hardcore fan won't be on his cellphone waiting to see what happened in real time, he'll either be a) at home, watching or b) he can wait until he gets home to watch it on TIVO or see the highlights on Sportscenter.

So this is all for the fantasy geeks, which brings me to the nut of my rant here today.

I hate fantasy everything. It's ridiculous and it makes people think and talk like they know the sport as well as the people that play it. YOU DON'T. YOU SUCK.

Play a videogame for Christ's sake, but stop subjecting bystanders to these idiotic conversations:

"Damn! I didn't start Buehrle today!"

"Yes! Mussina got the win!" "But you hate the Yankees." (Cheeky smile) "I know, but he's on my fantasy team..."

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Spanish/English in an MLB Clubhouse

A nice article on how certain Cub players (and latino players in general) have to deal with the language barriers (in addition to everything else) when coming to the big leagues.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Nintendo Wii

Check out this article on the new Madden game for the Wii, it's amazing to think of how this new controller is going to change the way we play video games.

You can also check out Nintendo's official Wii website to check out more stuff on the controls. It's going to be the running pad for the NES all over again, but this time it'll be awesome.

Amazon recommendations

The other day they sent me a good one: The author of The Story of the Dog in the Nighttime had just come out with another novel, and they let me know since I had read his first book (even though I didn't buy it from them - I must've looked at it a lot).

But today I get an email:

Dear Customer,

We've noticed that customers who have purchased books by Ted Williams often purchased books by Maria Canteli Dominicis. For this reason you might like to know that Maria Canteli Dominicis's newest book, Repase y Escriba, Wookbook: Curso Avanzado de Gramatica y Composicion, will be released in paperback soon. You can pre-order your copy by following the link below.

Ted Williams = baseball player

Maria Canteli Dominics = Never heard of her but it's a book on spanish grammar. Do they know I know Spanish somehow?

Sometimes I'm alarmed at the things Amazon knows...

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Sports and Business

This is a nice follow-up article to one that he wrote months ago about how sports experiences can teach certain lessons in life that become useful in business.

I for one can relate to the argument, but it seems there are a lot of people that not only can't, they vehemently refuse to believe it exists. They call this the "jockocracy." Obviously, these people didn't play sports at a competitive level where sacrifice, discipline, and success play vital roles in a person's development as a person.

Which is OK. That's why I like his point about the importance of "finding your sport," no matter what it may be. It doesn't even have to be a sport, just something you dedicate yourself to and work hard at.

I learned about discipline and the effects of hard work from playing baseball. I still learn to this day. I also learned about teamwork and leadership qualities, something I know will serve me in the future even more than it does today. I wish I could get across to those who haven't experienced these feelings, especially since they're so valuable. You can read all the articles and books you want, but there's a piece of indisputable truth you glean from a lesson learned when you actually go through the things you do in sports.

Now go find your sport and then get back to me.

Most Obese Claim to eat healthy

Yeah fucking right.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Ashley Madison Agency

This is a weird one. As someone who watches (and enjoys) the show Cheaters, I find this website a little disturbing.

It's a dating site for people that want to cheat of their husband/significant other.

My question is why market your services to that specific group of people, when they probably already use one of the many other dating websites to cheat on their spouses.

I guess it means they don't have to lie to their new conquests when questions start popping up, which makes cheating really convenient. How do you deal with the moral dilemma that comes with being in charge of a business like this?

Answer: They focus on how they save people from bad marriages - evidenced by the testimonials on their site.

All very weird to me, but I guess it's just someone trying to make a buck, as with everything else.

Hot Prospects

A nice article from USA Today that shows you how youth, when combined with great talent and hype, can make some players very very unlikeable.


I'm reading this great book on the battle of Stalingrad called Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943.

I'm not a big history buff but I somehow came across this book online and it seems to be the book to get when it comes to the infamous battle.

It's crazy how:

- Horrible the conditions were for both sides
- The Will cost the Germans so much while the Communist version of it (patriotism?) allowed the Russians to hold out for so long before Operation Uranus.
- Little I knew about all of this stuff, even though it happened relatively recently (1942-43).
- War was waged back then.

Even if you aren't a big history or war reader, this is really entertaining. It's well written and meant for an audience that isn't necessarily well versed in the genre or the subject matter.

I'm enjoying it thoroughly. My father would be so proud.

9/11 Stuff

Check out this website, it has all the exhibits used in the case against Zacarias Moussaoui. It includes a total of 1,202 exhibits from the trial.

There are some crazy things in there. Makes you realize how much stuff gets collected during these things.