Thursday, January 29, 2004

HT Update
It's been a while since I've written about the home theater.

Everything's working great, and I continue to be pleased with the PLUS Piano DLP projector. HD channels are clear and brilliant. DVD movies look great. By far, this projector is a better choice than a rear projection television, if you have a room dark enough for it.

I recently installed LUTRON Spacer Light Dimmers. These are dimmer switches that control the lighting in the theater. They can be controlled by remote control. LUTRON sells a proprietary remote control for these controllers, but fortunately my HT dealer programmed my universal remote with the proper codes. So, while sitting comfortably in my seat, I can start the movie and dim the lights via remote control. They dim slowly providing a nice effect.

I recently found and purchased a Pac Man arcade game. Unfortunately, the monitor went blank a few weeks after we got it. I found a used monitor and replaced it, but the machine still isn't working. I found an arcade game repair specialist in the area, and he is coming to the house tonight to take a look. Hopefully we can have the game up and running for our family get together this Sunday.
Windows 9x
Interesting article in eWeek on the lifespan of Microsoft's older operating systems. Developers' Take on Win 9X.

Fellow Quilogy employee, Jon Box is quoted in the article.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Stupid Bowl
Why? Media Day at the Super Bowl? What is the purpose of this? To hear coaches say "Whichever team executes best will win?" To hear players discuss their favorite movie?
Several years ago, when SBC was still Southwestern Bell, I ordered DSL service from SWB. One option with the SWB DSL service was your choice of ISP's. So, in effect, SWB provided the wire, and the ISP provided the service. I selected Grapevine at the time because they had a better web site hosting service for hosting a personal site.

Later, SWB changed to SBC, and somewhere in there, my DSL service was transferred completely to Grapevine. Instead of paying some money to SWB and some to Grapevine each month, I sent the entire amount to Grapevine. That worked great for a few years until this month when Grapevine folded up their tent and left town.

They sent me a letter a month ago advising me that they were discontinuing their residential DSL service and that I needed to find a new provider.

I called SBC and placed my order. The problem is that as long as Grapevine has the line, SBC cannot do anything. The customer sales rep described it as a one car garage. You can't pull your car in until they take their car out.

Yesterday, out of the blue, my DSL was turned off. I tried to call Grapevine to verify that they had switched me off, but their numbers are disconnected.

My next call to SBC resulted in that verification. They can now turn on the SBC DSL service since the Grapevine car had left the garage. But, of course, it's not as easy as turning on a light switch. It takes a week to turn it on. So, I'm without internet service at my house until next week.

It's a crazy business. Hopefully things will be smooth once the new service gets switched on.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Speed-Up Rules
This past Saturday, I attended a meeting of the Monarchs Chapter of SABR. The guest speakers were Brian McRae and John Sickels.

You can learn more about the meeting at Dan Fox's Blog, so I won't bore you with the details. But, Brian McRae did say something that interested me. Someone in the audience asked a question about the strike zone, and MLB's efforts to expand the strike zone and make it more consistent across the board. McRae's response began with a question: "Are you married?"

His point was just as your wife may have tried to change you when you were first married, you may have changed for a while, but eventually resorted back to who you really are. Same with umpires. The league may say "do it like this" and the umpires may do that for a while. But, umpires being umpires, they will tend to resort to their old ways. After all, if an umpire's been calling a game a certain way for 25 years, why change now?

The thing that really interested me was when McRae started talking about "speed-up rules." He said that in certain situations, like in a blow-out game, umpires will tend to call games in such a manner as to end the game more quickly. So, pitches that may normally have been balls are then called strikes. Or, a runner who would have been safe at second on a close, but missed tag, would be called out.

I've never really noticed this before. This is something I'll try to look for this season, while I'm watching the Royals run away with the AL Central.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Great Off-season

The Royals are wrapping up one of their best off-seasons ever.

Today, they signed Darrell May, thus avoiding arbitration. They also signed Carlos Beltran before reaching arbitration.

It's been a positive off season with some key free agent signings (Graffanino, Sullivan, Gonzalez, Santiago, Stairs and others), as well as convincing guys like Leskanic and Randa to stay in KC.

Now that everybody's signed, let's get the season started.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


I just finished Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie. I've seen Albom on ESPN off and on over the years, and was vaguely aware that he had written this book. I grabbed it on a whim while in the bookstore the other day, and read it in about 2 1/2 hours.

The book is building a reputation for "changing lives," and I can see how that can happen. The book recounts Albom's experiences as he spent each Tuesday over about 6 months with his dying professor from college. In the book, Albom describes how he had buried himself in his busy life and work schedule and how spending time with Morrie began to reshape his views on life - and death.

It's a quick and easy read, and wasn't quite as in depth as I would have liked. Each visit is briefly described by the topic of the day and a short description of the conversations. Many stories are only touched upon. I'm sure this is somewhat intentional. The goal of the book is to document what Morrie wanted to say about life, culture, marriage, death, and other heavy topics. By keeping the chapters to only a few pages, I found it easy to read through the entire book without feeling bogged down. Morrie's message was successfully delivered to this reader.

In the end, any reader is sure to be touched by Morrie's attitude and love for life - even when facing his own mortality.

Here's an interesting question to ponder: What would you do if you were baseball commissioner? I have a short list of items:

  • Make it illegal for the commissioner to have any interest in a ball club

  • Settle the Expos situation

  • Move a little closer to revenue sharing

  • Enact a world draft

  • Adjust the World Series game times so my son can see the end of at least one of the games

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Molitor Hall-Bound
In September of 1996, I decided to attend a Royals game with my neighbor Kent. I remember sitting at the game complaining that the crowd was so small. It's not surprising that the crowd was small - baseball was still in the shadows of the '94 strike season and the Royals were among the worst teams in baseball. But in this series against the Twins, KC fans had a chance to see a future hall of famer get his 3,000th hit.

It happened at that game. After Paul Molitor smacked his 3,000th hit, ushers distributed "I Was There" certificates to the small crowd. I still have mine with the ticket stub attached, framed and displayed in my home office.

Now, 7 years later, Molitor has been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

It's starting to make me feel old. To me, Hall of Famers were always great players from the past, who I only saw on grainy old highlight films. Now, Hall of Famers are guys I actually saw play. In my adult life.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

My Football Season Ends...
Chiefs lost...

Now on to baseball! This is the worst time of the year. There's nothing in sports to be interested in until Spring Training opens up in late February.

Because of that, I'm officially in count-down mode. In exactly 2 months, I will be in Arizona to check out some Cactus League baseball. I'll be going with my brother, my friend Dan and his father-in-law, and my son Joey.

I went out to Surprise last year for a Royals game. I flew in, drove to the stadium, watched the game, drove back to the airport and flew home. After that trip, I knew that I wanted to spend a couple of days out there with Joey and friends.

It should be fun. We'll be checking out the Giants, Cubs, Royals, and Rangers in our 3 day whirlwind trip. I hope it's like I remember last year, where the players are very relaxed and willing to spend time with the fans. We're excited at getting an early peek at the '04 Royals, including slugger Juan Gonzalez. Not to mention Sosa, Bonds, ARod and all the others.
Tough to be a Parent
Last week, my 10 year-old son Joey came home from school all excited about a band called Pomeroy. It seems the school music teacher is friends with this regional band, and she had them stop by the school for a short concert assembly.

Seeing a real live band perform up close and personal can really spark fandome. That's why performers tour - assuming you'd be so impressed that you will then go buy the CD.

This is what happened. Joey loved Pomeroy so much that he wanted to go buy the CD. The band, of course, encouraged the kids to do so, mentioning that it's available at the local Best Buy store.

So, we bought the CD. As we were driving home from Best Buy, we put it in the CD player to check it out. Much to our surprise, we heard language that isn't appropriate for kids. Now, the language wasn't awful (no F-words and no mention of killing cops or anything like that), it was just innapropriate.

It just proves that as a parent, you must be very diligent about what your kids are doing. Imagine if I hadn't bothered to listen to the CD, and it did have worse material...

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Royals Sign Juan Gone
Kansas City Royals : The Official Site

The Royals are looking good. Today they signed Juan Gonzalez, completing a very impressive lineup. I'm excited about this season. It's January and the Chiefs are in the playoffs, but I'm thinking baseball. I am pumped about a lineup that includes Juan Gone, Sweeney, Beltran... I'm loving it.

Potential Lineup:

Angel Berroa - SS
Carlos Beltran - CF
Mike Sweeney - 1B/DH
Juan Gonzalez - RF
Ken Harvey - 1B/DH
Joe Randa - 3B
Aaron Guiel/Matt Stairs - LF/DH
Benito Santiago - C
Desi Relaford/Tony Graffanino - 2B

SP: Appier, May, Anderson, Gobble, Asencio, Greinke, Affeldt
RP: Leskanic, Grimsley, Sullivan, Carrasco, Wilson, MacDougal
Not So Rosey
Interesting opinion on the Pete Rose - MLB - Caple: Charlie Hustler

Personally, I think he should be in the Hall of Fame in recognition of his great career as a player (and as Caple says, with mention of his gambling on the plaque). But that should be it. He should never be allowed to participate in the game again. He's still a gambler, and nothing he has said or done has convinced me that he believes what he did was truely wrong and damaging to the sport.

He says he never fixed a game or let his bets affect his managing. I find that hard to believe. But even if that's true, his activities did affect the game. If the manager of a baseball team suddenly does not bet on his team one day, what does that tell the bookie? I don't like this situation at all, and I'm afraid that Rose's confession comes now only to promote his book, which of course leads to $$$.