Thursday, June 30, 2011

Actually, the book I requested a week ago still hasn't arrived at my branch.  (Its status is: IN TRANSIT +1 HOLD.)  So that's approaching one week.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I should be avoiding Rite-aid.

Aisles are too narrow.  Cashiers always have pained expression on their faces.  Makes me feel bad.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I got an e-mail from the library around 10:00 P.M. saying the two books I requested Wednesday evening had arrived.

On Thursday evening I'd asked another librarian to transfer a different book to my branch, and that one has yet to arrive.

So it looks on average to take five days for a book to arrive at my library.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Maybe I should switch my daily habit to something more useful.  Like flossing.

No one finds it weird if your resolution is to floss every day.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I wonder what will happen if the day arrives when I forget to blog?  Since I can't give up my current streak, will I, nonetheless, feel the need to start a new streak, and either equal or surpass my previous one?  Probably.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

It may be time to change the name of this blog, or at least my handle.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The camera operator mentioned he felt sorry for the girl who'd just left, and the guy sitting next to me asked why.

"Well, we had the blonde girl in here for about 10 minutes, and that girl just came in and we had her do one take.  And you can certainly hear what was going on from the waiting room."

I'd perceived the same thing too, but as someone who was supposed to be helping make the decision, I didn't feel right bringing up the point.  Besides, the blonde girl was much better.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm no expert on basketball statistics, but when your +/- for a game is -24, and it leads your team by a significant margin, that seems to indicate you're the most worthless player on the team.  

Shortly after Game 6 somebody in some forum quoted a FiveThirtyEight tweet that said: 
For the series, Heat were outscored by 36 with LeBron on the floor. But they outscored Dallas by 22 with him on the bench.  

It wasn't an obscure statistic to find, but it's as though a statistic is somehow more authoritative when it comes from that guy's blog.  Maybe it's because people know he won't just cite random statistics?   

Over in Shake Shack, the episode of Sportscenter on TV compared Lebron James and Dirk Nowitzki's crunch time performances for the series.  James's point total was 0, Nowitzki's was rather high, and a couple kids behind me had a chuckle at that.  I was watching too, of course.


---------------------------------------------------


I still haven't described what Nate Silver wrote that really annoyed me.  I wrote a draft of it, however, in checking some of his subsequent posts, noticed he sort of acknowledged everything I was going to say.  Then I asked myself, "If I had read this at the time, would I still have written my draft?"  I still think everything in my draft holds true--and expect Nate Silver not to change his mindset in the future--but the question is, would I have felt compelled to write it?  Probably not.  So I'll file it away in my drafts folder for later.  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Now feels like a good time to take stock of the blog.

Counting today, I will have blogged every day of June.
My current streak started on March 1st, so today marks the 111th consecutive day of my current streak.

To date in 2011, I've blogged 167 out of 170 days, for a completion percentage of 98.2%
Going back to the modern-day genesis of this blog (December 10th), I've blogged 187 of 192 days, for a completion percentage of 97.4%

Saturday, June 18, 2011

YES!  I'm declaring victory over Conan O'Brien!  His show on June 14th wasn't a rerun, which means he was back on the west coat by then.

My streak is now longer than yours, pal, and you'll have to try damned hard to regain that edge.   

You can quibble it was only a 15-minute delay, but when I'm talking about you on my blog, you're playing by my rules.  And my rules state that the daily blogging and/or tweeting window closes at midnight.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It doesn't take a lot of courage to blog about crossword puzzles, but it does take courage to do so intelligently.  (I've made a couple tries before.)

There's a crossword blogger named Rex Parker who solves the New York Times puzzle, and he usually places quite high in the official NYT crossword tournament.  When I consumed crosswords regularly, his blog was my resort whenever I couldn't solve a particular section.  He gives a summary of the puzzle, goes into his own solving experience, and describes what clues he thought were good, or what clues he thought were bad.  And he always makes sure to embed at least one YouTube video, because who doesn't love watching YouTube videos over their morning coffee?

In one Sunday puzzle from several months back, the clue for an across fill was: "Homeric hero."

It took me about 30 seconds to solve.

It's six letters.

ACHILLES? No.
ODYSSEUS? No.
DUFFMAN? No. 
AJAX? No.
AENEAS?  Yes.

For anyone who's not sure, the definition of "Homeric" on m-w.com is:




1
: of, relating to, or characteristic of the Greek poet Homer, his age, or his writings
2
: of epic proportions : heroic <Homeric feats>

There are two definitions of the word.  Neither of those definitions is obscure.  They're both quite common--especially for anyone who went to college and had to wade through a "Great Books" program.

So to solve the clue you need an epic hero from Homer, or a different epic hero who enjoys performing epic feats.  Aeneas was a Trojan soldier who briefly appears in the latter part of Homer's Iliad, and later Virgil composed the Aeneid with Aeneas as the central protagonist.

I thought this was an excellent clue.  "Epic hero" would have been terribly vague.  And since Aeneas, in fact, appeared briefly in the Iliad, the mental association is a dead giveaway he's the correct answer.  So it was an ingenious thing the crossword designer did, phrasing it that way.

Rex Parker blew a fucking gasket over this clue.

He wrote:
19A: Homeric hero (AENEAS) — I'm calling massive bull$#!* on this one. It is true that AENEAS is in Homer's "Iliad," but calling him a "Homeric hero" is kind of nonsense. He's pretty damned minor, compared to the (many) other "heroes" in that poem. Why the *&$! do you clue AENEAS via Homer and not Virgil?—Virgil named his damned epic after the guy, for pete's sake. Boo. Cheap. Bad. Etc.

It's true that Aeneas is a minor character.  In terms of importance to the Iliad, he'd be like that soldier who holds Frodo and Sam hostage in the second Lord of the Rings movie, and whose name I don't remember.

The problem, of course, is that Rex Parker doesn't know the definition of some words.  And, upon finding himself at a disagreement with a word, he goes on a tirade without bothering to look up the word in a dictionary.

"Homeric" does not imply ___ was in Homer.
Yes, Aeneas was in the Iliad, but that's just a bonus association.
"Homeric hero" simply means an epic hero.  It could be used to describe Beowulf just as easily.
Aeneas is an epic hero, and he's also associated with Homer.

Rex Parker has a lot of people who comment on his blog, and I was waiting for somebody to point out how plainly wrong Rex was about the clue.  This is what the people had to say:


Matthew G. said...
The only thing I enjoyed about this puzzle was looking forward to Rex skewering it, and I'm glad to see he hated everything I did about it.
Big ditto on hating AENEAS -- refused to accept it initially because I thought it had to be a trap given "Homeric" in the clue -- AARON, MCLI.
10:46 AM


twins4reading said...
Definitely didn't feel the anger of some of the solvers but agree with Rex's ANGST about AENEAS. I also couldn't fathom how WADEIN could be described as "energetically". Other than that I thought the puzzle was fun---2 Melville themed clues!
11:01 AM

archaeoprof said...

I agree with Rex about both AENEAS and NANCI Griffith
11:25 AM

George NYC said...
This is one of those days where I rejoice at the exist  ence of this blog. This puzzle just pissed me off until I finally asked myself, "Why are you doing this?" So nice to have Rex et al as a reality check.

Homeric hero = Aeneas is at best misleading, at worse, just plain wrong. If the Aeneid had never been written, maybe it would pass. But as Rex says, Aeneas is a minor character (compared to others) in Homer's The Iliad. It's like cluing the Mona Lisa as "painting that once hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art."
2:43 PM

You fucking retards.  You solve the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle, which means you probably read the New York Times Sunday edition.  And you obviously spend time on the internet--perhaps on the parts that enlighten people, and you clearly participate in blog discussions.  Isn't that a stereotype of modern-day literati?  And not one person recognized that "Homeric" was, in fact, used correctly?

Here are their respective blog profiles:

George NYC:  Industry: Publishing  Occupation: Writer, Editor
Archaeoprof:  Industry: Education  Occupation: Professor
Matthew G:  Nothing about his occupation
Twins4reading:  No profile, but he blogs about publishing; appears to be an avid reader

That definitely sounds like people who are aspiring to be part of the educated class.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A while back I saw an interview with some guy who was trying to dismiss the "SI Cover Jinx."  I seem to recall he was an employee of Sports Illustrated.

One of his arguments was: "Lebron James has been on the cover ___ times, and I'd say his career has turned out pretty well."  

This could've been either before or after the Finals against the Spurs, by my connection is..."Not necessarily." 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

So far Lebron James has compiled a not-very impressive record in Finals games.  This got me thinking about a simple SAT-style question.

Let's say Derrick Rose compiled a 7-8 record in Finals games.  Would this mean he was in:

A.  2 series, and won once
B.  2 series, and lost twice
C.  3 series, and won once
D.  3 series, and lost once

What, you don't like SAT-style questions?  Fuck off.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Now that the Heat have been vanquished, I can stop caring about sports storylines for a while.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Only 24 hours, 36 minutes left to make two separate blog posts.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Most of my roommates in New York have implied that they follow recycling habits.  As a result I've become self-conscious about my own trash, and have been saving anything made out of paper, plastic, glass or aluminum--and by "saving", I mean tossing these products beside my desk, under my bed, or piling them onto my shelves.

Yet by worrying what others would think about me, I've neglected my own environment.  If "eco-friendly" means not harming one's own environment, and I consider my environment to be where I live, then I've made a big mistake.

My immediate environment--my bedroom--is populated with empty cans, bottles, and old newspapers.  I've yet to toss them away, because I've yet to develop an efficient system. Granted, in the long term that could be an altruistic goal, but in the short-term my behavior demonstrates a startling lack of concern for my own surrounding environment.  By not throwing away my containers and newspapers into the general trash, I've been the opposite of eco-conscious.

This is terrible.  Immediately after posting this update, I'm going to toss all my trash into a large bag.

Friday, June 10, 2011

According to my upstairs neighbor, all the mailboxes in our building's lobby have "dummy" names on them, and the current names were only put on to fit quickly with some sort of compliance.

But nobody in my apartment actually gets mail delivered to our building--at least, not any personal mail.  The bills get delivered to our door, but all our personal mail gets delivered elsewhere, so the three of us have no real stake in amending the mailbox situation.  And I feel a bit awkward whenever my neighbor brings the topic up, saying we need to put more pressure on the landlord, and I mentally shrug it off a minute later.  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

There seems to be a certain margin, in any sport, that if a team is up by that amount, they're bound to lose.  It's inexplicable, and it's probably not the least bit true.  But it feels that way.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I may have unjustly disparaged the M50 bus when I wrote about its poor performance earlier: http://jeremymassler.blogspot.com/2011/05/m50-cross-town-bus-runs-on-my-street.html

There are a couple different buses that I see travelling down 50th and 49th streets on a regular basis.  Some of them are clearly charter buses, and some are MTA buses with a "FERRY" sign on the front.  One such "Ferry" bus was fully adorned with an advertisement for "Stomp," while others look pretty much like normal buses, and it was doubtlessly this type of "Ferry" bus I saw on the heels of the regular M50 bus.

So my expectations of the MTA bus system have risen from "quite low" to just "selectively low."  I know for certain the M35 bus once experienced a "lap" when I got off at Ward's Island (after having waited 20 minutes too long at the normal departure point), looked back behind and saw the trailing M35 bus sitting 50 yards away.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In the battle between making a good blog post and drinking at a bar, bar wins.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I was browsing on Facebook, when I noticed my friends counter dropped by one, from 212 to 211. (Of whom, two are fake profiles, and once is a deceased dog.)  Maybe it was in response to something I'd posted.  Maybe it was a sore Red Sox fan? Maybe it was just a coincidence.

But who?  Who was it?

It wasn't any of my family members.  It wasn't any of my co-workers.  It wasn't that person...or that person...or her...or her...or him...

After five minutes of review, I got a hunch (about my 5th hunch) and typed in the name of a girl I knew from freshman year in college.  She goes to UChicago, and I had filtered out her posts a while ago because 90% of them were about food.  If she was the girl who unfriended me, it would be like opening the penny suitcase on Deal or No Deal.

I typed in the first three letters of her name, and saw her profile pop up third from the top (beneath Minute Maid and Slim Jim). Since I'm not friends with Minute Maid or Slim Jim, I knew already it was her.  Her wall and info were mostly private, but we still shared six mutual friends.  

So that solves one drop.  But I could've sworn my friends list dropped a couple weeks ago too, perhaps during finals time?  I hadn't been able to resolve the mystery then.

I doubt it was any of the people from my theater semester...Most of them are aspiring actors.  No aspiring actor would ever unfriend someone on Facebook.
Unless...
One girl recently swapped her theater ambitions for more selfless ambitions.  I typed in her name and sure enough she appears to have left Facebook.

So that solves another of my drops.

There's also one other guy at Stanford who I think deactivated his account around finals time:  A monstrous Italian who was regarded as my college rugby team's best player from the last five years.  He returned occasionally as a ringer, and I only friended him after getting man of the match honors in a game we'd both played.  Granted, the award is kind of subjective, but I can reflect on that and think, "For one day, I was the same caliber as that guy."

Now it'll be tougher to convince people I know that guy.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I had a dream I was driving to a wedding with a friend, and we stopped at a pit stop in a mall somewhere in New England,  (I've driven through this same setting before--not in real life, but my dreams seem to have somewhat consistent geography.)  I took a nap in a back room, and after a while she knocked on the door and asked if I was ready to keep driving and I said sure.  After leaving the mall I realized, "Shit, I should have bought some dress clothes at Macy's."  The only clothes I had in my suitcase were informal, and wrinkled to boot.  But while we were stopping at a restaurant for some food, I saw a sign for a 24/7 tuxedo rental, which was supposedly located right next to the chapel.  I can't remember how the dream ended, but either way the problem was solved.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The top post on Reddit is an observation about RPGs that Justin and I both made long ago.  Anyone who has played an RPG has made this observation.

But they (the original poster) expressed it in such a way that left me feeling instantly retarded.

And it took me a while to figure out why:
Whenever this thing occurred in RPGs, Justin and I had a different reaction than this poster did.  And for a while I forgot what my original reaction had been.  For a while I just thought, "Yep, I agree with this guy."

Friday, June 3, 2011

I was waiting the other day (May 31st) for Deadspin to write a post about Jo-Jo Reyes winning his first game since 2008.

After all, they'd written a post on May 26th about Reyes's very long winless streak.

I expected them to use some clichéd title like, "Our Long National Nightmare Is Over."  But when I checked back a few hours into the day, I noticed they had already used that title for a different post about mlb.com embedding videos.

Maybe they didn't write the post because they couldn't come up with another title.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

If you write "cliched", Blogger offers "clichéd" as an alternate word.

But this same approach doesn't work when trying to spell "resumé."   You can bring up the spell-check after typing "resumee", yet none of the alternate words have an accent over the e.  And "touché" isn't an alternate for "touche", either.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Merriam-Webster.com now allows visitors to leave comments for every word via their Facebook profiles.

When I noticed this, the first word I looked up was "retarded", because I wanted to see what retarded arguments the commenters would have for not using the word.

Here is the first commenter's retarded argument for not using the word.  I'll call her "Sarah H.":

Sarah H:
retarted is used as another word for stupid or dumb. When in truth it means use just don't learn the same way as others, or as fast. So please stop saying the word retarted for calling someone stupid or dumb. It doesn't just hurt people with developmental problems, it also hurts people who know someone like that or understand what how cruel it is, and how truly beautiful they are inside and out.So please just stop!

Sarah H:  Unable to spell a word despite looking it up in the dictionary.