Category Archives: geekerie

The Tech in Black

This little fun tidbit crossed my Twitter Timeline, courtesy of Friend o’ the Hive Sheila O’Malley:

My Help Desk guy’s name is Johnny Cash. I can’t help but say his first/last name. “Johnny Cash, hey, something’s up with my Outlook …”

So of course, fun things encourage playing along…

Well, my boss left the company when I got hired
Gave me a cubicle and then retired
My training was a stack of post-its in a drawer
Now I don’t blame him that he run and hid
But perhaps the meanest thing he did
Was before he left, he hung “IT” on my door

I never knew a thing about computer stuff,
So a lot of folks made it mighty tough
It seems I’ve had to fight the whole day through
Somebody would giggle when the printer jammed
Some fool would crash the network with Porn on Demand
Lemme tell you, life ain’t easy for an IT dude

I learned PCs and I grew a thick skin
You’ll get it fixed when I say when
As I roam from floor to floor to repair the probs
And I made me a vow to the moon and stars
That I’d search the chat rooms, Twitter, and blogs
And kill that man that gave me this awful job

Now you might wonder why I didn’t quit
But times were too hard to spit the bit
So I worked hard to learn all about PCs
And then one night, working overtime
From the corner of my eye, who comes online
But the mangy dog who made me work IT

I knew right away it was my old boss
From the IP address he used, of course,
And his avatar was the same from times gone by
He was crude and loud and a snobbish scold
So I logged in quick, and my blood rUn cold
And I Twittered – “How you be? I work IT! NOW UR GONNA DIE! #revenge”

So I blocked his feed before he could hide
And his email went down, but to my surprise
He come right up with a DoS attack
I rebooted and hacked him live
Crashed through the firewall and into the hard drive
Coding and uploading till both our screens went black

I tell you that I’ve fought tougher hacks
Though I can’t remember that far back –
He phished like a pro and spammed like a Nigerian Prince
I saw him LOL and I saw him WTF
Went for his antivirus, but I booted mine first
And after a minute, I saw “colon-parenthesis”

“Kid,” he texted, “Times are rough
If you want to make it you’ve got to be tough
And I knew a typical degree wouldn’t last you long
So I give you a tech job and said good luck
I knew you’d grow unique skills or bust
And it’s those l33t skilz that’s helped to make you strong!”

“Now I know ur h8in, but why you mad?
It’s not the worst job you’ve ever had
And if you want to you could brick my PC
But you ought to thank me before you do
For your HTML and coding-fu
‘Cause I’m the lousy cuss who put you in IT”

What could I do? I got choked up, shut down my hack
Erased the virus and gave his passwords back
And I come away with a different way to see
And I think about him, here and there,
When I squash some bug or scrub malware
And if I hire a guy, I think I’ll…
SEND HIM TO MARKETING! I STILL HATE THIS JOB!

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Any time is a good time for π

But especially March 14th, National Pi Day.*

*In Europe, the convention is day-month-year, so this would be 14/03/12, and there would be no pi, since they have the same twelve months we do and thus no 3/14 anywhere in sight.  They would have to settle for the highly-inaccurate July 22nd, aka “22/7”, which was sometimes used as a quick-and-dirty estimate in the dark days with no calculators permitted on math tests.  And in England, that would be called “maths” because “mathematics,” being a plural, ought to have a plural abbreviation.  But in any country, this is all a pointless digression.

It was a thing over at High Heat Stats to find all the pitchers with π as an earned-run average, a task taken to heart by the redoubtable Joe Posnanski.  He found out some great stuff, too.

Those of us on the hockey side of things have an equivalent in GAA, goals-against average for goalies.  There is, however, one problem – for much of the league’s history, a 3.14 GAA is just not so hot.  As a result, there aren’t that many examples to choose from.*  Nobody gets to be that mediocre for that long to keep a 3.14 GAA. In baseball, 3.14 has ranged from respectable to quite good, and only very rarely has been considered openly bad; there are plenty of guys to chose from.

*Out of the 160 goalies to play 250 or more games in their career, fully 105 have a GAA lower than 3.14.  And one man, Richard Brodeur, met the 250 game standard in both the WHA and NHL.  As you can guess, his career ran exactly in the absolute roughest historical time for goalies, 1972-1988.  His combined GAA for both leagues, 3.76, is 153rd of the 160 – and he finished his career over .500 (296-289-74).

 

On top of that, baseball has an offensive equivalent to π – batting .314 – that does not exist for hockey.  (Though I suppose a team scoring 314 goals in a season would count.)  It’s just much easier to find pi-friendly baseballers than pi-friendly hockey players.  But that also means that it’s easier to give you the few examples after the jump.

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Nightfly: the Special Edition (blu-ray)

Y’all will remember how badly we geeks lost our minds over the terribleness of the Star Wars prequels.

That was a bitty-bit our fault, I suppose.  George Lucas re-released the original three movies in the run up to the 1999 debut of The Phantom Menace*, and these Special Editions featured some nifty spruced-up effects, but mostly they featured the restoration of redundant deleted footage, a bunch of CGI clutter blocking the view of the actual movie, and Greedo shooting first – an egregious affront on a lot of levels, not least of which was the damage done to Han Solo’s character.** Maybe we should have been a little more wary of The Phantom Menace as a… ZOMG NEW STAR WARS squeeeeeee !!1!eleven~!!

*Yeah, it’s been twelve years.

**First off, the guy’s a smuggler and a gangster who may have double-crossed his crime-lord boss. He’s not gonna wait for a pretty-please. Second, he can’t possibly be dumb enough to expect Greedo to miss a shot from four feet. Third, it’s obvious that he banks on Greedo not shooting at him at all, because then Greedo would be out the bounty money; that’s how Han gets the drop on him the first place.  The edit makes no sense on any level.

But we convinced ourselves otherwise.  We seem even to have convinced George, who actually un-tinkered somewhat when the original movies were remastered again.  Not that it stopped him from making all of the same mistakes in the other two prequels: bad characters, inexplicable choices, and endless clutter on the screen.  We just thought that he’d leave well enough alone with what he’d already done.

Well, now it’s obvious.  We only convinced George Lucas of one thing – that we’re all ungrateful peasants, and as a result he’s decided to tinker and tinker to the bitter end.

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Not exactly Nostradamus-level difficulty

The Boston Red Sox have had the Devil Rays’ own time trying to hit the ball lately.

They have gotten exactly three base hits in three consecutive games, all against the rival Tampa Bay Rays, though they managed to win the first of them since one of the hits was a three-run home-run courtesy of Jacoby Ellsbury.  (He also homered in the second game of the series, and is having a helluva year overall.)

You’ll notice my ugly mug all over the comments there – not much else to do when you’re home sick – and one thing I mentioned was that the Sox were playing in Kansas City tonight, getting to face Luke Hochevar, who is not exactly the immovable object.  This led me to suggest that Boston would probably surpass three hits on their first trip through the batting order.  (Hochevar’s career: 9.7 hits per 9 IP, .274 average against. He also allows steals at an 83.1% rate for his career, so the Sox will be active on the basepaths.)

This was not really a stretch to predict, but lo, it hath come to pass.  The eighth and ninth hitters,  Jason Varitek and Mike Aviles, hit singles to give Boston four base hits on their first trip through the order.  Through five innings, they have four runs on eight hits (20 AB) and two walks.  They should have even more, but the Royals have shown better arms than their pitcher tonight – KC has ended three of the five innings by throwing out Red Sox runners.

When you’re a Mets fan, this is about all you have to think about is cool stuff like this.

For example, another thing I noticed from the Jacoby Ellsbury thread above: Bobby Bonds appears three times on the list at that post, the only man on the list more than once.  (It’s leadoff hitters who’ve met certain HR/run/RBI levels with an OPS 30% above league average.)  Bobby did it twice with the Giants, and the only year he was a Yankee.  The Yanks (most likely at Billy Martin’s insistence) traded Bonds to the Angels, and got back Mickey Rivers and Ed Figeroa.  Rivers actually finished third in the MVP vote his first year there, and Figeroa fourth in the Cy Young vote.  And they played effectively for the Yanks for a few years after, meaning that they actually came out ahead on the deal. The Angels, however, didn’t do badly for themselves, trading Bonds for Brian Downing, an underrated player in his own right – and one who would wind up making the very list Bonds is on.

I love little patterns and coincidences like that.  It’s also interesting to see how Billy Martin’s dissatisfaction led to the Yankees improving their team, almost by accident.  For one thing, there was no real indication that Rivers or Figeroa were capable of what they did their first year in New York.  For another, part of the Yankees problem in 1975 was an injury to CF Elliott Maddox, who was playing very well before wrecking his knee.  (He was arguably never the same player afterward.)

Rivers replaced Maddox in centerfield, but there was another difficutly: the Yankees had nobody to bat second behind him.  It had been Sandy Alomar, who was, to be honest, brutal.  The Yankees solved that problem by moving Roy White to that spot.  But who was going to replace Alomar in the field?  Well, the Yankees were already trading for extra pitching besides Figeroa.  Pittsburgh was giving up Ken Brett (and giving up on Dock Ellis).  They had young John Candelaria, and Jerry Reuss and Bruce Kison… they could afford to part with some pitching.  They could also afford to part with one of their two second basemen.

They kept the established Rennie Stennett, and threw in the young, unproven Willie Randolph.

Because I am a giver

This is a little something-something for Laura, the propriotress of Fetch My Flying Monkeys.*

* I originally typed that as “Monkees,” and am now alternately amused and terrorized by the vision of Mickey Dolenz and Davey Jones gliding about the rooftops like Mary Poppins.  They get the strangest looks, indeed.

No, it’s not George.  I haven’t got that kind of pull in the world.  But I can link a website, and this is that website: Dinosaur Comics.  It’s a proven scientific fact that a comic must be awesome if it features a Tyrannosaur calculating how fast he’d need to spin the Earth to levitate a person via magnetism – just to get that person off his couch.  Exhibit A: the Tyrannosaur explains this by yelling, “That’s right, tiny woman, I noticed you hanging out on my couch; it weirded me out and I started doing Math!”

So – you’re welcome.

(Via Zoopraxiscope, who clued me wise with this Dino strip about the odds of the occurance of Batman.  I am truly in his debt.)

Around and about the Internets

Sir Robbo has chosen to shut it down over at Llama Butchers, and I hear him on this.

I allegedly hockey-blog at Lighthouse Hockey.  My main contributions have been in commenting and moderating; I do little actual posting of content.  Sometimes, this makes me feel bad, but my cohorts there assure me that it’s not a problem.

So what am I to do when I no longer post at my own blog, as happens from time to time?  I’ve shut one down already, before opening the new digs – back then, my co-blogger wound up doing most of the heavy lifting and I couldn’t countenance doing less than a third of the work at my own place.

Finally I realized the answer was all the way back in my Mark Twain, in Tom Sawyer, and Tom’s great realization through selling the whitewashing privileges to his friends: the moment it becomes work, you have to pay people to do what they would gladly do otherwise for free.  I came back to blogging once it became relaxing again, instead of a chore.  Still, I’m more of a reaction fellow… I can do color commentary, but am not the best play-by-play man, so to speak.  So there will be times I have no content, and other times when I have content sitting in the draft queue for months on end, unfinished.  I’ve come to a certain peace about it.

This read-and-react habit of mine has won me a promotion of sorts from the Czar of Muscovy.  After writing in to the Gormogons about this recent post, they were kind enough to run said letter; now I’m the new head of space flight practical jokes.  Folks on the Supersonic Rocket Ship need not concern themselves closely with this.  The fresh flowers in the arboretum are not about to start squirting water at you, except the Water-Squirting Orchids – but those were already clearly marked.  In fact, my first act under my new title was merely administrative: to wit, neither Sir Robbo nor the Gormogons were showing up in the sidebar, because I had set a link limit of 20, and they were numbers 21 and 22.  This was the sort of foolish oversight that prompted me to write in to HQ in the first place – it’s fixed now, and an old link has been dropped, bringing us to a proper blackjack’s worth of folks to visit.

Now we’re really stretching time and space – the Fake GM chronicles

I blew through the overseas exhibitions.  Here’s the first, brief accounts of the Fake Future Panthers in game action.  And you know, I may have a keeper in that kid Sanipass.  It’s early… it’s early.  I’m gonna post this and then work on some of the non-game stuff while I run the in-league exhibition schedule: six games.

PS – I know I’m supposed to be less hockey over here, and more over at Lighthouse Hockey.  To me, though, this isn’t really about hockey.  It’s a work of fiction, with hockey as a medium; but it’s the people who count.  The game’s the thing wherein we catch the conscience of the king.

SEPTEMBER 1-14, 2021

When the games begin in earnest, McGill leans heavily on the youngsters.  The overseas fans naturally want to see the NHL stars, but neither do they want to see their own clubs crushed.  McGill’s compromise is to play primarily those of his players who come from those countries.  Ondra Cerny, for example, starts in net against Praha, and Patrick Sjölund and Nestor Söderqvist get huge cheers in Farjestads.  Otherwise, it’s almost a Rochester Americans barnstorming tour, with Pavel Kiselev facing Mettalurg, and Gary Flynn, Oskar Åberg and Kaj Bergkvist seeing major time against the Elitserien teams.

It’s also a chance for lesser-used Panthers to step into the limelight.  Petteri Wirtanen, the veteran center, starts and takes the first shift of each period again Turku in Finland; and Mike Burk centers the first line at times.  Nathan Horton and Jay Bouwmeester only appear in four games total, three for Bouwmeester (McGill wants his many young defenders to pay strict attention to the Hall of Famer).  Kenndal McArdle is a mere spectator.  Cody Kozack, when he does play, spends much of his time alongside Robson and Zaczyk for example and support, while Anders Henriksson centers Artyem Filatov and Luch Sanipass.

Praha Sp, the Czech league champions, fights the Panthers to a draw; after that Florida begins to demolish the various foreign sides, with Filatov-Henriksson-Sanipass quickly emerging as a dangerous line during the tour.  They aren’t playing pushovers, either.  Every opponent is either the playoff or regular-season champion of their leagues, and several former NHLers are in their ranks.  It is immaterial.  Samuli Laine and John Cyr earn four assists each in a 12-2 laugher over Frölunda.  Coles, Kiselev, and even Don Madden post shutouts.  Henriksson finishes the tour with 4 goals and 8 assists.  But Sanipass, time and again, is the story – the speed of the game hasn’t bothered him at all, and playing against much older men for the first time, he looks as dominant as he did playing against teenagers in juniors.  He finishes the six-game tour with a pair of hat tricks among his ten goals.

Beginner has left McDonough behind in Florida to handle whatever may happen in his absence, choosing to travel with the team and watch all the games himself. He only misses one evening: his birthday.  His wife flies out to meet the team and the two spend a day taking in the Czech countryside.