I have been a critic of the uniform-of-the-week phenomenon in college football. What really gives me fits, though, is when the “alternate” uniform looks absolutely awesome. Or at least better than the “regular” one. A case and point, UCF’s regular uniform is nothing to brag about. Their alternate helmet, though, looks really cool The black and gold contrast is remarkably better than the gold-and-white. A couple years back, ECU adopted their alternate helmet on a permanent basis. UCF should do the same. Also, North Carolina State’s red helmet works a lot better than its white one, though I cannot put my finger on why, precisely, that is the case.
Speaking of UCF. It’s interesting to me that ESPN refuses their honor to be called UCF. Unless there is a reason not to, universities typically do get to be called what they want. UNC-Charlotte decided to go by Charlotte and has been called Charlotte ever since. The University of Central Florida decided some time back that it should be referred to as UCF on a permanent basis the same way that UCLA is called UCLA and Texas Christian University is called TCU and not Texas Christian. For whatever reason, ESPN continues to call them Central Florida in the long-hand. I suspect this is related to their rivalry with South Florida, which goes by USF and South Florida. Perhaps ESPN refuses to shift gears on Florida directionals.
In Louisiana, the battle goes on between Louisiana-Lafayette and the other universities in the state. Louisiana-Lafayette desperately wants to be called Louisiana and nobody else (Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, LSU, and Tulane) wants this for one reason or another. Legally barred from referring to themselves as the University of Louisiana (without the city modifier), they’re trying to be Louisiana the same way that UCF wants to be UCF for athletic purposes. The difference between watching a game run by ULL’s TV production network (RCN) and ESPN is remarkable. In the case of the former, you never hear the word Lafayette unless they are referring to where the game is being played.
Now, on to the stuff that people actually care about…
The big question is whether or not the SEC champion, either Auburn or Missouri, each with one loss, will leapfrog the undefeated Ohio State team to play in the national championship game against Florida State, assuming that Florida State wins. This, of course, assumes that Ohio State wins. I think that underestimates Michigan State, whom the networks are pretty much rooting against at this point.
My view is that the Big Ten is a ridiculously weak conference and has been for some time. When I ran my analysis a few years back, they were actually weaker than the Big East and even the Mountain West Conference by a few of my 14 metrics. And who can forget Ohio State getting embarrassed two years in a row by SEC teams. But you know what? I don’t really care. Ohio State wins, Ohio State should be in.
This is in contrast to my view in time’s past. The SEC burned up my good will when they got the SEC-only championship game a couple years back. I believed, and believe, that the SEC is the best conference in college football, but that only takes you so far. They get the tie-breaker, but they don’t leapfrog other major conferences. Including the Big Ten. With the possible exception of Florida, every team in the SEC is there because they want to be there. Every one of them except possibly Kentucky or Mississippi State could, probably, snag an immediate invite to the Big 12 or ACC if they were to ask. But they want to be in the SEC because it’s the best conference there is. Well, that has its cost.
Relatedly: Complain all you want about Boise State’s weak schedule, but they are in the best conference that will have them. Provided that they are scheduling the best games they can, penalizing BSU for their schedule overlooks the fact that they want to play a tougher schedule (and indeed signed on to a conference across the country to try to make it happen). On the other hand, Northern Illinois got their shot last year and did not do well. It is my hope that Bowling Green puts an end to their repeat. This is partly because I would like to avoid another Kiddie Table Bowl like the year they matched TCU and BSU.
In the unlikely event that FSU and Ohio State both lose, an Alabama vs Missouri championship game becomes someone likely because SEC and because nobody respects Michigan State. I can live with that easier than I can live with 2011 because at least those two teams didn’t play one another in the regular season. Even so, I must confess I am getting a kick out of the deck being stacked against the SEC to continue their streak as an antidote to the previous stacking in favor of. Any SEC school that has a problem with that should give the Big 12 or ACC a call. Yet I still can’t bring myself to root for Ohio State, so in effect I suppose I am rooting for either Auburn’s or Missouri’s inclusion.
After this year, of course, the question of “which two teams?” should play for the title is replaced by the question of “which four teams?” should. Which will prove every bit as successful at avoiding controversy of ties as would be moving first base to 89 feet instead of 90. One can imagine that with the current lot of teams, the SEC would be arguing that the four playoff teams should include Alabama, Auburn, and Missouri. Because as we know, the SEC is such a bulletproof conference that two mediocre Big 12 teams that tried to play in it (let’s say, hypothetically, Texas A&M and Missouri) would get their clocks cleaned week in and week out. (Yeah, that’s me still being bitter about 2011.)
For no particular reason, I was thinking of the old TV show Remington Steele today. Remington Steele, for those of you unfamiliar with it, was was about a female private investigator (Laura Holt) who wasn’t taken seriously and so created a fictitious male partner named Remington Steele. Enter Pierce Brosnan, the man who walks in and takes on the mantle of Mr. Steele.
The thought crossed my mind that they should do a remake of that show. It has an interesting and straightforward story that would be made more interesting with the passage of time. Namely, keeping Steele’s identity in the information age. It’s been long enough that a remake wouldn’t feel so forced. It’s exactly the sort of crime-show-that’s-not-a-cop-show that does really well with women. It has a built-in romantic angle. This would be a far better idea than the Ironside remake ever was.
So imagine my surprise when I google the show and find that NBC is considering doing a boot! For once, NBC was doing something right! Except not. It’s not a remake; it’s a sequel starring the daughter of Holt and Steele. And worse, it’s a half-hour sitcom.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
The show was never popular or iconic enough to attempt a sequel-reboot (the way that Dallas was, for example). The show about the daughter of the guy who came in and assumed a fictitious identity isn’t nearly as interesting as the guy who came in and assumed a fictitious identity or the woman who created the identity. Unless they regurgitate the plot. In which case, what would be the point?
NBC could, as my mother likes to say, screw themselves out of a free lunch.
There was an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry kept getting very small royalty checks from Japan. The checks were so small as to be worthless (12 cents a piece), but they kept coming. I don’t remember what happened after that, though I think it involved trying to unload their unsuccessful pilot on the Japanese. I could have sworn that I mentioned this, but a couple of scans come up empty. I periodically get small checks from AT&T. I don’t know why. But they tracked me from Zaulem to Arapaho out to here. They’re usually for roughly $3.
They’ve been joined by something more significant, however.
Shortly before we left Arapaho, we discovered that Clancy’s employer had been shorting her paychecks. We hadn’t noticed because her payment schedule is somewhat complicated. They would have gotten away with it, had they not gone overboard towards the end. The last couple of paychecks were so much less than we were expecting that Clancy made a point of sitting down with financial and HR and ironing it out. I’m not going to go into the details, but it became pretty apparent pretty quickly that they had messed up pretty badly. The first check, for $7,000, arrived in Queenland before we did. And since then, we’ve gotten two more checks. The most recent is another $2,500.
Money has been tight since the last job change and this money will come in very, very helpfully. More helpfully now than if we had been paid on time. On the other hand, we were shorted on the pay from when she was on call every other day with a newborn at home. She had noticed something wrong and had even brought it up, but it wasn’t until she had actually resigned that she had the time to go to them with work calendars, charts, and figures in hand.
So while this is the sequel to Loose Change, where I would discover paychecks never cashed because I was too disorganized or too lazy, and I kind of liked the deferred payments, this one leaves a bit more of a bad taste in our mouths.
When my Prizm died, I settled on getting a Nissan Juke. It was inexpensive, but quirky and really fun to drive. It wasn’t the most economical option, but my flatmate convinced me against getting that option. Around the same time, I wound up getting a used Jeep Patriot for her. That way I would finally have something to carry objects larger than would fit in the small vehicles I prefer. Plus, when I’m in town, it would mean that we both have vehicles so we’re not having to coordinate rides and she’s not having to take public transportation.
I’d had the car less than a couple months when my employer changed an important policy. My job takes me out of town between 15-30 weeks of the year (most years 25). Historically, they’d rent me a car and I’d drive that around. That’s one of the reasons that the Prizm never bothered me all that much. I was usually driving a Kia or Suzuki rental.
Some bean counters took a look at this policy and decided that it would actually be cheaper to require us to drive our own cars to wherever it was we were going. They could pay us generously per-mile and the hourlies for the driving time (which can take three days) and still come out pretty far ahead. I complained for two reasons. First, because I’m one of the few people in my job who is salary. Second, because I just bought a car that I wouldn’t have purchased if I knew I was going to be driving around the country with it.
The financials turned out not to be as bad as I thought. Because of the generous per-mile subsidy, I could drive a minivan and still come out ahead. The mileage on a Juke isn’t good, but it’s still better than a minivan. I wouldn’t get paid hourly for my driving time, but they agreed to boost my compensation in other ways.
Despite my financial concerns being addressed, I still find myself kind of angry at the cosmos because I am still driving a car across the country that’s really different than the car I would be driving across the country if I knew I was going to be driving it across the country. It’s the right amount of comfortable for a car I’d be driving around the city for six or seven months of the year weeks of the year. It feels like I blew my big car purchase for getting something that wasn’t strictly economical and comfortable.
If I’d just have repaired my Prizm once more, it would have worked out. The new edict would have been passed down and I would have started car shopping immediately. For something appropriate to what I would have ended up using it for. I’m too much of a cheap-ass to sell the Juke and get something new.
The bright spot is the Patriot. I fly home sometimes on weekends when I’m out. Hopefully I’ll actually have a girlfriend to come home to and more reason to come home on weekends. But that was going to be a lot more difficult if I had my car with me and it was the only car I had. Now, there’s at least some vehicle waiting for me back home that I can drive.
When bear cubs attack, and baby lions learn how to roar… they’re actually really cute.
The process of moving Hit Coffee from WordPress 1.5 to 3.5 was not easy. There was no direct route short of sequentially installing virtually every version in between. The tricky part being the database. What I ended up doing instead was a 32-step process to incorporate the data from 1.5 into the appropriate tables and fields in 3.5. This was a 32-step process. Not just writing the code, but figuring out what the code had to do.
Two of the remaining problems have been the comments on the archives. There were two specific problems: First, the comments were not appearing in order. Second, the number of comments wasn’t showing up. It would say 0 whether there were 0 or 26. And when there were twenty six, they appeared in what seemed to be a random order.
I finally had enough of that this past week and started digging into the guts of the database to figure out what the problem was. Turns out, they were both products based on fields that did not exist in 1.5. In the case of the ordering, it was based on a GMT field independent of the field containing the post’s date and time. In the case of numeration, there is a field on the posts table dedicated to that so that it doesn’t have to be calculated each and every time. I just had to populate the fields and we were good to go.
Long story short, the conversion to HitCoffee.com is a couple steps being closer to complete. The only thing remaining, that I am aware of, are the links to old items. Internally, a link to a post in November of 2007 will work. It someone clicks on a link at Ordinary Times, though, it won’t. The old URL’s included “index.php/” while the new ones do not.
Are there any other lingering issues that you’re aware of that have been nagging at you?
The OrdTimers are debating the recent trend of more and more retailers being open on Thanksgiving.
The thing is that I went to the local supermarket today and picked up our Thanksgiving Feast. A chicken, some turkey, potato salad, bread, mayo, pimento spread, and on and on. Before long we’re probably going to do it the old fashioned way by making our own, but we’re not quite there yet. And while I am sorry for those who have to work and don’t want to, it’s a real convenience being able to roll up there on Turkey Day and get everything. And, while I am there, baby oatmeal.
This is slightly different than what is being complained about, which is the shifting of Black Friday to Thanksgiving Day itself.
Unlike many in my cohort who either like shopping or hate Black Friday, I have no problem Black Friday but wouldn’t be caught dead at one of those sales. The prospect of going on one of those sprees makes the hair on my arm stand up. I don’t like shopping on good days, unless it’s for one of a few narrow areas of interest. And yet, I think Black Friday is fine for those who enjoy the experience. For those who take pride in the Good Deal. People who actually enjoy the chaos of it all. That’s not me, but it’s some people.
I remember when the Playstation 2 came out, my friends and I formed a party and went from one retailer to another trying to find a place that had it. We had no luck, but it was fun as all getout. I wanted one of those things, but I mostly enjoyed being on a mission with friends.
As y’all know, I’m an Android guy and not an iPhone guy. A lot of Android guys make fun of Applytes and their tendency to form camp out lines so that they can be the first to have a new iPhone or Apple product. I admit that I roll my eyes at them, but I kind of thing I am wrong to do so. For them, I’d imagine that it’s like the Playstation 2. You’re an enthusiast waiting in line with a bunch of other enthusiasts. I can imagine worse things.
But the movement onto Thanksgiving Day I see as more problematic. Mostly because, unlike Black Friday which would be a day without meaning save for the day that comes before it and that a lot of people get the day off, Thanksgiving Day is already its own thing and this is trampling on it. I honestly don’t even think that any specific retailer wants to trample on it. It’s a collective action problem. If Retailer A is closed on Thanksgiving and Retailer B is not, then Retailer B gets the sales. If both are closed, then everybody waits for Friday and no damage is done. In fact, Black Friday might even be better because people won’t cut their shopping trips short in order to get back home with their families. The only way this calculus is wrong is if everybody who does such things goes shopping both days and so they shop more and spend more. In which case, Retailer A could maybe wait until Friday anyway.
But I’m glad the local supermarket was open. For situations like Murali’s, I think it’s good to have some restaurants open as well. But not every place needs to be open, and when employees are overwhelmingly against the idea, it’s not a bad idea to consider that.
Every now and again I come up with some business venture that somebody else should totally pursue. I say that I totally would if I had the money and some guts.
As often as not, these turn out to be a bad idea.
The most recent one is looking at the absolute lack of coffeehouses here in western Queenland. The county where I lived in Arapaho (Dent County) had 9,000 or so people and the town I lived in said county (Callie) had roughly half of that. The next largest town had less than three hundred people. The rest was rurally aportioned in the county. Callie had two coffeehouses, one coffee hut, and a Starbucks in the Safeway.
Lancaster County, where I presently live, has 50,000 people in it. Roughly 10,000 people live in the city of Stonebridge or its Kingsland counterpart, Southbridge. Given the coffee situation in Callie, you could imagine my surprise on our arrival when I discover that Stonebridge has… two coffee places, plus coffee at a bread and sandwich chain. Oh, and a Dunkin Donuts, of that counts. No Starbucks at all. No drive-thru huts. No drive-thru at all! And one of the two coffee places is five-minutes out of town and another has a rotten parking situation because it’s right downtown.
It seemed to me that this place was ripe for a new coffee place. If I had the money, I’d open one. Heck, I’d call it Hit Coffee! Surely this place is dying for more coffee-related options!
Evidently not. One of the two coffee places closed last month. And apparently there used to be a third, which closed before we got here. So now there’s only one.
One of my favorite coffee places of anywhere I lived was called Bad Ass Coffee (before it de-franchised). I even bought a t-shirt, in part because I liked the place and part because it had good t-shirts with its donkey mascots. Anyhow, imagine my surprise when I arrive out here and discover that the downtown coffee place (the one that just closed). I mean, a table with the Bad Ass logo on it. I asked them if they used to be a Bad Ass Coffee and they said that they bought the table at an auction.
If I were to open a coffee place, if it weren’t Hit Coffee, it would be Bad Ass Coffee. Because who doesn’t want to try coffee at a place called Bad Ass Coffee?
Dr. Phi has noticed that television is becoming less edited:
So I was quite surprised this summer when I was watching MGM and saw they were running She’s Gotta Have It apparently unedited. Maybe that’s just MGM, I thought. But then, a few days later, AMC showed the vampire movie The Hunger, also apparently unedited.
One of my guilty pleasures is USA’s Suits. It reminds of some of the good stuff from Boston Legal but without nearly as much in the way of sanctimony and lefty politics.
Apparently they got the go-ahead this most recent season to curse as much as they want. Whether they used to be able to curse at all or not, I do not know. But in the new season in one episode two of the characters are going all Clay Davis with “sheeeeeeeit” and batting it around back and forth throughout. But even that joke (“joke”) aside, the cursing has been ramped up hugely.
Rather than making it feel more mature, though, it makes it feel like the show is a ten year old who discovered a new word.
The first MP3 player I ever used extensively was WinAmp, which may be going the way of the dodo:
Winamp is shutting down. The website and all of Winamp’s web services will shut down on December 20 and the desktop player will no longer be available for download.
Even if you don’t remember Winamp, you may remember the demo MP3 that played when you installed the app: “Winamp, it really whips the llama’s ass.”
As the article notes, the landscape of music-on-the-computer has changed a great deal over the years. But WinAmp isn’t really a historical relic for me. It’s what I still use. I’ve never really had reason to use anything else. Indeed, I use it now the same way I used it then.
I started my MP3 collection when WinAmp was on top, so I geared how I use it to Winamp 2.1. By which I mean, my music collection is organized in a series of folders and filenames. I actually have two copies of many of my MP3′s. In some cases, I have three. I have one set that is a folder for the artist all in one big bulk. Then, if I liked the artist enough to make road trip CDs, I would have another one with each folder denoting 80-minutes worth of music. When my car could play MP3 CDs, I added another set that just had the artist’s discography from beginning to end.
Sometimes I just wanted to listen an artist on random, so I’d just go to the first set of folders. If I wanted to listen to the good songs with the lackluster ones cut out, it would be the second. The third was if I really liked an artist’s entire catalog, if there were specific CDs that I wanted to listen to from start to end, or (as is increasingly the case) I was just too lazy to cut up the artist’s catalog into 80-minute chunks of greatness.
MP3 players today are all geared towards having managed libraries, which doesn’t work as well with my setup. The libraries do arrange by album and whatnot. I’m sure there are ways I could arrange them myself. Though in that case, it wouldn’t transfer so easily to my car which doesn’t have anything so fancy as iTunes.
So I’m not a huge fan of the library system. On my phone, in my car, almost everything can handle just plain old folders with the songs organized by folders and filenames. With hard drive space so cheap, having multiple copies of the same file doesn’t cost much if anything.
WinAmp tried to get into the library mode. I suspect that most of its recent improvements were improvements on that corner of the house where I never treaded. In that sense, I guess, WinAmp’s possible retirement – unless Microsoft revamps it – doesn’t mean that much to me. I can probably use the most recent version indefinitely.