8-30-08 (20:32)
  • luke couldn't go to the cal game so ryan called me with an extra ticket. went over to his place and we left to see the game, but i soon realized that i had the wrong ticket - turns out that luke sent the wrong ticket to ryan. apparently you can't print out a ticket within 4 hours of the game so we went to the game in the hopes that we could get them to print it out at will call. that turned out to be a dead end so we went to the ticket counter. cheapest tickets were $51 so that was a no go. went to the scalpers which turned out to be the most interesting part of the adventure. the scalping world is a strange one. the scalping market changes very quickly. before the game the tickets were being scalped for $40-45. as soon as the game started they were asking closer to $30. one of the guys who i had talked with earlier came back to me and said he could do $30 and i said i still wanted one for $20. he said $25 and i said $20. he started walking away and i said that he'd come back in 15 minutes and sell it to me for $15. he didn't cotton to this and said that the price for me was $40 now. oh well. talked with a couple other guys, but couldn't get them below $30. one guy asked what i wanted to pay and i said $20, he gave me a look like i called his mom a slut and then he walked away. about 10-15 minutes after the game started we realized we weren't going to get our price so we decided to try to sell ryan's ticket and head back home. we asked the guy who was consistently asking the highest prices what he wanted to buy a single ticket for and he asked what we wanted for it. ryan said $25 and the guy walked away to check his pockets. after a second he gave a real slight move with this finger to signal that the deal was on. he gave me the money and ryan gave him the ticket and the deal was done. ryan was $5 richer (ticket face value was $20) and we were on our way back home.

  • 8-29-08 (21:48)

  • 4 1/2" grinder is a great tool and fun to use. ground down some screws and got a thrill watching all the sparks fly.
  • i've now seen all but seven academy award winning best pictures.

  • 8-29-08 (18:01)

  • busy as always.
  • mccain's timing of the vp announcement was wise because it took obama off the front page, so to speak. he was still on the front page, but everyone is talking about alaska's hot governor instead of obama. she's a wise choice because she's new, has some executive experience, a woman, and good looking. still don't think he has a chance, and it would have been nice if she were from florida instead of alaska, but i guess it makes things a little more interesting. if i were even considering mccain i think this choice would be intriguing, especially if i were the kind of woman who felt it important to get another woman in the white house. what i wouldn't like about this selection is the fact that mccain is an old guy and this woman who was a mayor just a couple years ago could be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

  • 8-24-08 (09:27)

  • googled "i hate" and the following, and this is the number of results for each query:
  • Ipods 7,050

  • Apple 33,700
    Windows 74,700
    Microsoft 50,300
    Peets 8
    Mcdonalds 10,800
    Chipotle - 343
    Pizza 5,790
    Kfc 2,510
    Starbucks 13,300
  • 4x400m relays were a small measure of redemption for the u.s. track community. expected, as the u.s. is dominate in those races, but even expected wins are fulfilling.

  • 8-22-08 (13:52)

  • changed the oil on the camry and then barely passed the smog test. all the categories were good except for "hc" (hydrocarbons?) where the max is 55 and the camry measured a 53.
  • no work today, but got a call from the alumni house that there's some plumbing disaster and now our secondary sink is out of comission. the other sink was in trouble earlier in the week and we haven't picked out a replacement faucet yet; this is lame.

  • 8-22-08 (09:22)

  • the men and women's 4x100m sprint relays were embarrassing. they both failed to get the baton around the track so they were disqualified in the opening heat. this is a recurring problem for the u.s. teams (it happened to the women in sydney, also when passing to lauryn williams) and it's happened to the men a couple times in the last several olympics too. this is the equivalent of what happened to the men's basketball team: we have so much talent that we just slap together a team and assume we'll win on speed alone. i mentioned this in my 8-11 post and that turned out to be prophetic. the basketball people responded by hiring jerry coangelo and coach k who then picked the right people for a solid team. they also demanded a certain level of commitment (3 years on the team) from the stars who wanted to be on the team. they also had more practices and international games than former dreams teams had. any team game demands a certain level of teamwork and chemistry, as soon as u.s.a. track and field recognizes this they will make the necessary adjustments. they'll put together teams earlier and quit swapping sprinters in and out of the team. they'll also realize that lauryn williams is worthless in the anchor leg and put her in the starting leg or kick her off the team altogether.
  • the men's 4x100m was the fault of darvis patton who broke rule #1 of the relay by letting go of the baton before tyson gay had it in his hand. the rule is that you make the other guy take it from you, rather than just assuming he has it because he hand is on it. it was pathetic. i hate these kinds of breakdowns of fundamentals. what makes it worse is that the first two passes were pretty smooth. i really felt bad for tyson gay, he seemed to take things fairly well in spite of his very disappointing olympics.
  • in the women's 4x100m the fault was more on the lauryn williams who was accepting the baton. she didn't keep her hand still and seemed to knock the baton out of tori edwards' hand. after the baton was dropped lauryn williams went back, picked up the baton and finished the race. it was a sad moment. i don't know how many times we need to make the same mistake. all this said, i don't think that either team would have won the gold, that's likely to go to the jamaican teams.
  • the 400m race was a decent one. wariner disappointed, you gotta wonder about his changing coaches. not sure why he did that. he just didn't have any finish left in him. needs to run more 600m repeats in training. he ran .6 slower in the final than in the qualifying round before. merritt ran a solid race. david neville literally dove for the finish line in order to complete the u.s. sweep, a repeat of 2004. we also swept the 400m hurdles, so that was a good showing for us. would like to see a return to greatness at the 100/200m distances. would also love to see just one guy who could really compete at the 800/1500m distances. symmonds ran a couple good races, but didn't qualify for the final. he's a fairly smart runner, but doesn't have the strength of the world class guys.
  • sebastian coe is an underrated mid-distance runner. he won back to back golds at the 1500m distance and silvers at the 800m for great britain. to my knowledge only one person has run a faster 800m time than his best.

  • 8-20-08 (22:29)

  • well, 12 years ago michael johnson broke the 200m record and i thought that would last 20-30 years. ato boldon thought it would last until he died. we were both wrong. usain bolt bested it today by 2 hundredths of a second. frankly i'm a bit saddened by it because i feel like johnson is the best ever in the 200/400m, but it's also great to see someone doing something great. two things: hopefully usain bolt is clean and 2) he can run even faster. he ran as hard as he could, that wasn't the issue this time, but his run through the turn could use some work and could shave 5 hundredths more off his time.
  • i like ato boldon as a commentator. he has the third most sub-10 second 100m races in history and knows the technical aspects of sprinting as well as any commentator i've heard. he also went to ucla which is a plus and says a lot of the same things (like believing that johnson's 200m record was nearly unbreakable) that i say.

  • 8-19-08 (11:02)

  • dad visited this weekend. went to the a's game on sunday with him and his (my?) cousin luke. the a's lost 13-1. ouch.
  • was going to give bone marrow today, but my white cell count was low. hmph.
  • olympics are dominating my life lately. no movies or much of anything else. watching everything from table tennis and equestrian events to swimming, track, and basketball. the triathlon is on right now. these days i'm more of a try-athelete than a triathlete.
  • i really think that the best legacy that bush will leave behind is his extension of daylight savings time. good job george - it was a brilliant use of your power, i will truly thank and remember you for the rest of my life.

  • 8-18-08 (21:36)

  • synchronized swimming is crazy. seems like there isn't as much of a difference between the top and middling teams. the women wear too much makeup in this competition.
  • the california, er, u.s. men's water polo team has been impressive. a win over croatia and germany in the last couple days. moses is having a great week in the net.
  • that usain bolt run still stands out in my mind. when he flipped that switch it showed a gear that sprinters and football players truly envy. the funny thing is that he's not amazingly quick. i wouldn't doubt it if reggie bush or steve smith, who both run about 4.3 in the 40 yard dash, could keep up with him for the first third of the 100m race. his speed is the kind that shows up at about the 50-60m mark. this fact is why i think the best may be yet to come. think about his potential if he works on his reaction time and his start out of the blocks. he could also work on his technique in running the turn for the 200m race. i could see him running a 19.4 at that distance.
  • phelps' 8 golds and 7 world records is pretty amazing.
  • the canadian synchronized swimming team is using a philip glass piece from koyaanisqatsi. very cool.

  • 8-18-08 (08:29)

  • usain bolt's 100m race was insane. he took a quantum leap above everyone else who has ever run the race, i've never seen anything like that. he's in another class at this point. it's the most dominating sprint performance since michael johnson crushed the world record in the 200m in 1996.

  • 8-15-08 (20:05)

  • brandy chastain is doing a good job as a color commentator on the us vs. canada women's soccer match. she does a pretty good job of giving the game a narrative and story arc. she also has good inside information since she was on the u.s. soccer team for so long. she's definitely a homer, but i think that color commentators are often better when they're emotionally involved. would joe starkey's call of "the play" be as fun if he was impartial? i actually kinda like it when a color commentator is a homer, they get down when their team is sucking, they get excited when their team is doing well and those emotions translate to your viewing experience. now, the rules change when it's a nationally televised game because the audience is different, but if it's a regional telecast then i think it's fine to let  the viewers know where you stand.

  • 8-14-08 (19:02)

  • there were 3-4 possessions in the us vs. greece basketball game where wade just killed the opposition. the first was a great steal where his momentum carried him out of bounds, but he threw the ball up towards the basket before he went out and kobe completed the alley oop. the next possession was a nice assist from wade to howard. and the next one was a steal by wade that led to a big lebron dunk. wade is back.
  • a college coach makes sense for the olympics basketball team because the college game is more like the international game because of scouting and preparing for new teams. in the nba every team knows what the other team brings so there aren't any real surprises. in college you're forced to play teams you've never seen before.
  • the james blake/roger federer tennis match was nice enough. blake won, but federer didn't play a good game - 56 unforced errors - so he's not in medal contention anymore. bill gates was on hand to see it.

  • 8-14-08 (12:22)

  • the u.s. basketball team has been pretty good so far against the lesser talents. lebron is a man amongst boys, kobe has been a zero, wade has been solid, kidd needs to come off the bench and take more shots.
  • missed the women's gymnastics final which was unfortunate.
  • the women's cuba/china volleyball match was a good one. china went up 2-0 and cuba came back to win 3-2. it included 7 matchpoints for china in the 4th set, but they couldn't close the door on cuba. the commies (china, russia, cuba) have dominated volleyball since the 80s.

  • 8-11-08 (20:56)

  • pretty damn exciting to see the men's 4x100m freestyle relay. the u.s. men barely edged out france after the french were favored and talking all sorts of smack about smashing the u.s.
  • it occurs to me that when it comes to men's track relays the u.s. is dominate in the 4x400m (won the last six gold medals), but not quite as much in the 4x100m (won three of the last six). one could say that that embodies some of the u.s. approach to athletics - the best athletes, but less emphasis on the teamwork (think of the later dream team attempts - compilations of great players, but not a cohesive team). the 4x400m doesn't require a skilled handoff like the 4x100m does. the u.s. probably had the talent to win the three that they didn't get first place in since 1984, but it's about more than just talent - you really need to work together on your transitions, and that's tougher than you might think.

  • 8-8-08 (22:10)

  • not really thrilled about the olympics this year. i'll watch them and will probably get drawn in, but i've officially conceded the likely fact that the majority of them are dopers or slaves to their country (in this way the chinese athletes resemble the ussr athletes of the 60s).
  • our house is in the process of being purchased by someone else. you snooze you lose i guess. it was basically perfect and under-priced. those are the ups and downs of the process i suppose.
  • just saw john david booty's first nfl snap and it was a hand-off that ended up in a fumble (not booty's fault as it was a clean hand-off). still not a good omen if you ask me. i'm split on the whole idea that a college producing good nfl players means success for the college. some fans will brag that a particular player is from their college and some fans will claim a college isn't that good because the players it produces don't go on to be as big of stars in the nfl as they were in college. if leinert and bush end up being nfl busts i think that actually elevates the usc teams that they were on because it means that carroll got more out of less. conversely, i can also understand why some would brag about the success of the players who went to the college they root for. but if you have a few players who go on to be great successes in the nfl, yet your college team wasn't that good then it shows a lack of performance from the college coaching staff. so, in a way, i give extra consideration to teams like texas tech and hawaii that developed solid programs that perform well, but don't produce much nfl talent.

  • 8-5-08 (21:12)

  • meeting with a lender on thursday to see what we can afford house-wise. i'm fairly confident that the news will be mostly bad, but we'll see. found a house that's as close as we're likely to get to a dream house at an affordable cost. 225k victorian. 3/2 in a decent neighborhood. needs plenty of work, but i think i can do almost all of it.
  • movie watching has suffered lately. that said, there are only 11 academy award winning best pictures that i haven't seen.

  • 8-3-08 (19:17)

  • started seriously looking at houses this week. spoke with a broker today and should speak with some lenders this week to see what they think i can afford i.e., what they're willing to loan me. i can live on less than the average person so more of my monthly earnings can go to rent, but i don't think that in this market anyone's going to take my word for it. looking into the possibility of getting someone to co-sign, but that may be tough. 10% down is about all i can hope to give. found a bunch of places in bad areas and about 5 in decent areas. one has foundation problems and that's just about the only area of home repair that i don't feel confident enough to undertake on my own. everything else i'm confident that i can figure out. our best option right now is a place with a great view, but it needs quite a bit of work (basically a whole kitchen, a back door, and a couple other things) just to get it livable. haven't even had the opportunity to look inside that one yet as it was all boarded up.