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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Stereotype Walks Into A Supermarket...

About an hour ago, still putting off studying for finals, I decided to go to Ralph's (which can't hold a candle to Wegman's) and pick up some ice cream and a few other things I need for the apartment.

I pull into the parking lot, and sitting in front of the entrance (not in a spot) is a shiny black Bentley with custom rims. Why, I wonder, would there be a Bentley in front of Ralph's at 11:30 on a Wednesday night? Anyway, I park my car, go inside, get my stuff, and as I'm waiting in the checkout line, a guy who looks like and is dressed like gets in line behind me. (Pictures are just for illustration. The guy was not Elliott Yamin or Jamie Kennedy.)

These are the next actions the guy takes: He puts down two bottles of Dom Perignon on the conveyor belt. He picks up a pack of gum and puts it down on top of the bottles. He pulls out his cell phone, makes a call, and says, "Can you have two buckets of ice delivered to my room?" He says the room number and that it's under the name Landis.

At this point my stuff was paid for, so I left and the story ends. However, using pure speculation, stereotypes, and circumstantial evidence, I'm going to guess at the surrounding events.

The Bentley was his. If you're buying $250 of Champagne at Ralph's, the Bentley out front is probably yours. Also, he's probably an arrogant S.O.B. who thinks he is entitled to anything, hence the reason that he just parked it right in front instead of pulling into one of the many available spots.

He thinks he's entitled to whatever he wants because his dad is someone rich and powerful in the entertainment industry - John Landis, director of Blues Brothers and Animal House. I checked imdb.com, sure enough, John Landis has a 20-year-old son, Max (I doubt being shy of 21 is going to stop him from buying $250 of Champagne at Ralph's). Now, I have no idea whether this was Max Landis or not. In fact, it probably wasn't. But for the sake of the story, I'll call the guy Max anyway.

Max was probably staying at the W, which is less than a quarter mile from Ralph's. This being L.A., he drove the distance, which probably took longer than walking it, when you figure that he probably had to wait for the valet to get it for him. Here's how close Ralph's is to the W:Ridiculous, right?

So I'm figuring that Max met some girl at the bar at the W, decided to impress her by calling up the Bentley, getting some Dom, and now they're going to have a Champagne party in room 847.

I think picking up the gum was a little unnecessary, though. I mean, if this girl is waiting in the room, or in the Bentley, and the Dom comes out, let's face it, no amount of bad breath is going to stop her. This is Los Angeles, where you can look like a total jackass, drive 1500 feet to the supermarket, spend a ton of money on Champagne you don't appreciate (believe me, if you saw this guy, there is no way he could possibly appreciate what he's about to drink), and there's a parade of girls waiting for you because of the foregoing.

Part of me is cynical about this because it's just so ridiculous. On the other hand, you could say I'm bitter because I can't pull the ol' Bentley-N-Dom combo on a girl I flash money to at a bar. Well, maybe yes, maybe no. Do I really want that kind of girl? No. But just because I can't drive a car with a manual transmission doesn't mean I wouldn't like to try driving a Ferrari.

Ah, screw it. I'm going to eat some ice cream.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Extended Network

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about MySpace (in the same way that Dwight Gooden is all about the nose candy, but that's another story). But there are some flaws here, and it's time one of them was addressed.

Every single person's profile is in my "Extended Network." It says so right there in the top right corner of every profile you look at. My friends are in my extended network. My enemies are in my extended network. People I don't know - in my extended network. People who talk to me once a year and want nothing to do with me the other 364 days - yep, in my extended network. Even when I look at my own damn profile, I am in my own extended network. When I am in my own extended network, we are seriously starting to stretch the boundaries of how we define our interpersonal (intrapersonal?) relationships.

Friendster has the whole network thing down pretty cold. Why can't we get some of that action over here, since I spend 99% of my online-social-networking-site-time capital here, posting stupid pictures in other people's comments, talking to people I hardly know, and stalking people I do know?

I wanna know who knows who, and if everyone is in one fantastic super extended network, that's not getting done. I wanna play six degrees of me. How am I supposed to know who the guy behind the guy behind the guy is? Or who know somebody that know somebody that know somethin' 'bout it?

I deleted Tom, but he's still in my Extended Network. Someone pass this along to that fool.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Depressing History Lesson

I was talking to my brother on AIM yesterday, trying to get him pumped up for the Flyers' playoff run. I'm an optimist. He's a realist. He said, and I quote, "seriously though, you can't possibly think we have a chance."

I brought up the fact that the Ducks made it to the finals somewhat unexpectedly a few years ago, and that the Hurricanes made it to the finals before that, even with Arturs Irbe (who played this season for Salzburg in the Austrian league) in net.

My brother was not swayed. He cited the Flyers' tradition of disappointing in the playoffs, and we briefly discussed gems such as 2002, when the Flyers scored two - two! - goals in a five-game series and lost to Ottawa, 4-1, in the first round. Or the year before, where they lost game six of the first round 8-0 to the Sabres (I was in Buffalo for that game; I left after the second period when they were down 6-0).

We didn't even mention the time they were up 3-1 on the Devils in the 1999 conference final and blew it, or when they blew through the Eastern Conference in 1997 only to be swept in the Stanley Cup final by Detroit (when we had tickets to game 5, too).

So during this conversation, I sent him this link: Flyers History - Complete Playoff Results.

I excerpted the recent past below:

The Last 10 Flyers Playoff Appearances
2004 - Beat NJ, 4-1, in conference QF; Beat TOR, 4-2, in conference SF; Lost to TB, 4-3, in conference final
2003 - Beat TOR, 4-3, in conference QF; Lost to OTT, 4-2, in conference SF
2002 - Lost to OTT, 4-1, in conference QF
2001 - Lost to BUF, 4-2, in conference QF
2000 - Beat BUF, 4-1, in conference QF; Beat PIT, 4-2, in conference SF; Lost to NJ, 4-3, in conference final
1999 - Lost to TOR, 4-2, in conference QF
1998 - Lost to BUF, 4-1, in conference QF
1997 - Beat PIT, 4-1, in conference QF; Beat BUF, 4-1, in conference SF; Beat NYR, 4-1, in conference final; Lost to DET, 4-0, in Stanley Cup final
1996 - Beat TB, 4-2, in conference QF; Lost to FLA, 4-2, in conference SF
1995 - Beat BUF, 4-1, in conference QF; Beat NYR, 4-0, in conference SF; Lost to NJ, 4-2, in conference final

My brother's reaction to such a list? "Ugh. Why not just send me a list of recent Eagles WR draft picks?"

Well, you asked for it.

The Last 10 Eagles WR Draft Picks
2005 - Reggie Brown, Georgia (35th overall)
2003 - Billy McMullen, Virginia (95th)
2002 - Freddie Milons, Alabama (162nd)
2001 - Freddie Mitchell, UCLA (25th)
2000 - Todd Pinkston, Southern Miss (36th)
2000 - Gari Scott, Michigan State (99th)
1999 - Na Brown, North Carolina (130th)
1999 - Troy Smith, East Carolina (201st)
1997 - Antwuan Wyatt, Bethune-Cookman (190th)
1995 - Chris T. Jones, Miami (78th)

To my knowledge, my brother still has a Chris T. Jones jersey.

Hey, why stop there?

The Last 10 Phillies Free Agent Signings
2/9/06 - Alex S. Gonzalez
1/5/06 - Ryan Franklin
12/2/05 - Tom Gordon
12/2/05 - Sal Fasano
11/30/05 - Julio Santana
11/29/05 - Abraham Nunez
1/19/05 - Jose Offerman
1/11/05 - Terry Adams
12/21/04 - Geoff Geary
12/21/04 - Amaury Telemaco

And, of course, the most depressing list of all:

The Last 10 Major Philadelphia Sports Champions
1983 - 76ers
1980 - Phillies
1975 - Flyers
1974 - Flyers
1967 - 76ers
1960 - Eagles
1956 - Warriors
1949 - Eagles
1948 - Eagles
1947 - Warriors

By the way, had this list gone to 11, the Athletics' 1930 World Series title would have been on the list. At 13 would have been the Frankford Yellow Jackets' NFL championship in 1926.

Good lord, can someone other than the Wings win a frickin' championship in this city?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Flyers Playoff Scenarios

For the Flyers fan who can't be bothered to figure out who the Orange and Black will be facing in the first round depending on various outcomes of Tuesday's games, fear not, I was bored and figured it out for you. By the way, the Flyers will be playing in Long Island, the Rangers are hosting the Senators, and the Devils will be in Montreal.

By the way, scroll down for the table. Something's screwy with the HTML and I don't know enough about it to fix it. If you can figure it out for me, please do.

w w w PHI at NYR
w w l PHI at NYR
w l w PHI at BUF
l w w PHI at BUF
w l l PHI at NYR
l w l PHI at NJ
l l w NJ at PHI
l l l PHI at NYR

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

You Sofa King Deserve To Get Hit By A Bus

Today on campus, I saw a kid wearing a t-shirt that said "I'M SOFA KING COOL." Now, I'm far from an authority on fashion or coolness in general, but I know enough to know that this kid had no idea that his wearing that shirt was hysterically ironic.If you have no sense of shame, you can get the t-shirt here.

I also saw this shirt today, which is much more clever. I probably wouldn't wear it myself, but at least I didn't want to kick the wearer in the balls.If you're an engineer, go shopping here.

My Beef With MLB.tv

Last season, I subscribed to MLB.tv and was very happy with the service - I got to see Phillies games on the West Coast, and even better, while I was in Europe for a month. So I re-upped my subscription for this season, but I'm noticing a few changes for the worse, one of which is particularly irritating.

MLB.tv added an in-progress linescore to the player, which you would think is a good idea, except for the fact that it seemingly has been done to replace the score bug that typically appears in a corner or along the top or bottom of the screen during a game. What happened to the bug? Well, MLB.tv is affiliated with ESPN, so it doesn't want regional sports networks like Fox Sports Net or Comcast Sports Net to get face time on MLB.tv's service. The RSNs typically have their logos on the score bugs. To counter this, MLB.tv is either using a clean feed, or, more likely, stretching or zooming in on the picture so that the bug isn't on screen. As a result, the bug is gone, which means you can't tell at a glance what the count is, how many outs there are, and how many runners are on base. The linescore only tells you the score and inning. Also, you miss some subtleties of the game, such as the bobbing head of a runner taking his lead from second base along the bottom of the screen.

Apparently I'm not the only one to be miffed at MLB.tv this season. I also sent the following e-mail to MLB.tv, but I don't expect a response - apparently the customer service has been atrocious this season. Also, I don't even know if they got it - I didn't get any confirmation, and after I clicked "submit" to send the message through their customer service page, I just got a blank customer service form as the next page.
I've noticed that this season, when I watch MLB.tv, that I don't see the usual bug with the score, outs, count, and baserunners on the screen. I assume this is because the bugs typically show the logo of the station producing the game, and MLB.tv is affiliated with ESPN, so you don't want to credit RSNs. You're either using a clean feed or stretching the picture to get rid of the bug. I wanted to express my displeasure with this, as the linescore only tells me the score and inning - not the outs, count, or baserunners. Also, if you are stretching the picture, I would prefer to see the entire view (for example, I might not be able to see a runner leading off second base if the bottom part of the picture is cut off). Please do what you can to fix this - the MLB.tv product was better last year.
Well, I may have spoken a little too soon - the issue might just be with the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which showed the last two Mets-Nationals games bug-free (at least on MLB.tv). Currently, Padres-Marlins is on FSN Florida with the bug. Hopefully it stays there the entire game.