Archive for April, 2007

26
Apr
07

Torres blows another save; Pirates win anyway

I liked Salomon Torres last year.  I’m not liking him so much this year – especially tonight.  I could have gone to bed at 10:30pm if he hadn’t blown his 3rd save of the season (out of 9 opportunities) tonight.  Instead, when he came into the game in the 9th with a 3-1 lead, he promptly gave up 2 runs to even the game.  This led to a 16-inning marathon, which didn’t come to an end until after 11:30pm.  Fortunately, Shawn Chacon and John Wasdin turned in outstanding work out of the bullpen.  Chacon pitched 4 scoreless innings and Wasdin pitched 2 scoreless innings to keep the Pirates in the game until the Pirates’ offense could do something.  After too many 3 up/3 down innings, the Pirates finally got some hits in the bottom of the 16th inning.  The rally was capped by Adam LaRoche’s single, driving in Jack Wilson to end the game.  The hit lifted LaRoche’s batting average to a lofty .106.

It’s not a good thing that Torres has blown 1/3 of his save opportunities.  It’s also not a good thing that LaRoche is only hitting in the .100 range.  At the risk of repeating myself, the Adam LaRoche for Mike Gonzalez trade is not looking very good right now.  If LaRoche doesn’t turn things around, they’re going to put Brad Eldred at 1st and send LaRoche to AAA.  I don’t know what they’re going to do about Torres.  Maybe they’ll make him a setup guy and give the closer role to Matt Capps.  Hopefully, he’ll get his problems sorted out.  However, if he keeps blowing saves, Jim Tracy will have no choice but to shake things up.

26
Apr
07

Dear Presidential Hopefuls

Dear presidential hopefuls,

Please do your jobs – you know, the ones you got as a result of the last election.  Here’s a news flash: the presidential election isn’t until November – next November!  For the time being, I’m paying you to represent me as Senator or whatever your current role is, not to be making fund-raising appearances or generally neglecting your duties.  Furthermore, I’m not interested in what you have to say right now, because it will likely change 3 times between now and the actual election, which, let’s review, is more than a year and half away.  Please just shut up and do your actual jobs for the next year and maybe I’ll be interested in what you have to say next summer.

Sincerely,

A voter/tax-payer/someone who is not fooled by the media into thinking that the 2008 election is a “news item” right now

17
Apr
07

Pirates get offense going, get back to .500

The two-game series against the Cardinals has seen the Pirates in good form.  Their offense has been hot early and their pitching has been solid enough to make the early lead stick.  Yesterday, the Pirates scored 3 runs in the first inning and held on to win it 3-2.  It was a nail-biter, since Salomon Torres found himself with the bases loaded, facing Albert Pujols in the bottom of the 9th.  Fortunately, he got Pujols to pop it up to end the game.  Today, the Pirates scored 2 in the first inning and 3 more in the 3rd off Adam LaRoche’s 3-run homer.  The Pirates wound up winning 6-1.  I was encouraged by the performances of both Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny, who seemed to have good presence and command.  I was likewise encouraged by seeing some offensive production from people who have been relatively quiet until this series.  Now, if we can keep the offense coming and if we can avoid pitching performances like Zach Duke’s from last Friday, in which he allowed 5 runs in the first inning, we might be able to end the season above .500 for the first time since 1992.  Only time will tell, but I like what I’ve seen the last couple of games.

17
Apr
07

Update

For those of you who evidently gave up posting comments on my blog for Lent, I just thought I’d point out that Lent is now over and you can resume posting.

17
Apr
07

Taxes sent; scammed by Taxachusetts again

I was under the impression that state taxes were supposed to cost you less than federal. Evidently, I was mistaken. We got every penny of our federal tax withholdings refunded. However, we owed Massachusetts more than $400. What is that about?

Dear “the man”,

Please enjoy more than 400 of our hard-earned dollars. Perhaps you might consider using them to repair the roads here in MA, which, frankly, are a joke. Even the recently repaired roads here are a joke. Or perhaps you should use the money to overhaul the tax code so you stop scamming people who have no money.

Sincerely,
Colin

12
Apr
07

BS

On Tuesday night, Pirates closer Salomon Torres blew the save, which paved the way to the Cardinals’ extra innings win over the Pirates.  On Wednesday, Torres gave up the game-winning hit, to seal the Cardinals’ sweep of the Pirates.  In addition, by the end of Tuesday’s game, Adam LaRoche’s batting average had fallen back below .100.  The fact that Torres isn’t looking sharp coupled with LaRoche’s struggles at the plate is making the Adam LaRoche for Mike Gonzalez trade look worse every day.  After a hot start, the Pirates have lost 5 out of their last 6.  With Wednesday’s loss, they drop below .500 for the first time this season.  Unless they get their offense going (e.g. more than 2 runs/game), things may only get worse.

12
Apr
07

Tax Rap

I saw this in the Boston Metro (a free newspaper distributed at public transit stations). TurboTax is sponsoring a competition where people rap about taxes and using TurboTax. The contest is “hosted” by Vanilla Ice and involves a $25,000 prize for the winner. Anyway, I took a look at some of the submissions and some of them are painful to watch. However, there are some that are really good. In the Metro article, they recommended “Keep Your Refund FATTER” by 401Cakes & Samuel L. Taxin’. I think it’s really good, so take a look:

If you want to peruse all the entries, look here. If you want to see the contest home page, check here. Some of the stuff is really good, but don’t be surprised if you find something that is both embarrassing and painful to watch. You’ve been warned.

07
Apr
07

Trip to Omaha in Google’s new “My Maps”

If, like me, you read websites like Slashdot and Ars Technica, you are probably aware that Google just came out with an interface for adding your own content to Google maps, called “My Maps”. Google’s description of how to access this feature and edit your own maps is here. Evidently, these are called mashups, for some reason. Anyway, I’ve been interested in geo-referenced photography for awhile, so I thought I’d give it a try. As a first attempt, I took pictures from our recent trip to Omaha and pasted them into the appropriate locations on the map. You can see my work here. I’m still learning all the features, but I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. A couple of issues that have come up:

  1. I would like the links I provide to full-size pictures to spawn a new window using the target=”_blank” statement inside the <a> tag. However, whenever I add it manually and subsequently save the map, the target statement disappears. If someone can help me figure this out, I’d appreciate it.
  2. I created the placemarks in non-chronological order. Now, I’d like to reorder the links to those placemarks in the bar at the left side so they’re in chronological order. However, there doesn’t seem to be any way to do this. Again, if someone knows how to do this, please let me know.

Please let me know if you have any ideas for how I could improve this. Thanks.

Update: I just revised the map. The placemarks are now in chronological order down the left column.  I have also added a few more placemarks and pictures, as well as comments for each placemark.  I hope you enjoy it.

07
Apr
07

New camera

konica.jpg

While we were in Omaha, in addition to visiting Heather’s grandmother, we also visited a number of her other relatives. In particular, we spent some time with Heather’s Uncle Jeffrey, who has a reputation for having a large collection of stuff from all over. In fact, his house is like a museum. In any case, I mentioned to him that I was interested in photography and I showed him my K1000. It turns out that he had a K1000, but had given it, along with a number of lenses, to a friend of his. He was disappointed that he no longer had it because he seemed to want to give it to me due to my interest in it and experience with it.

The morning we were to leave, Jeff showed up at Heather’s grandmother’s apartment with a kind of suitcase and indicated that it was a present for me. Inside was a Konica Autoreflex T along with a flash and a couple of lenses. Among the lenses is a 57mm f1.4, which gives me 2 extra stops of low-light shooting over the 50mm f2 lens I have for my K1000. The camera has a mechanical timer, which will be useful for group shots where I also want to be in the shot. In addition, the camera is noteworthy because it was the first SLR to use TTL metering and what is now referred to as shutter priority for auto-exposure shooting.

I don’t think I’ll probably use this camera in shutter priority mode; rather, I expect I’ll shoot manually. However, the way I shoot manually with this camera could be different than the way I shoot with the K1000. This discrepancy has to do with the presentation of information inside the viewfinder.

Continue reading ‘New camera’

04
Apr
07

Pirates sweep Astros, sit alone atop NL Central

I missed tonight’s game because we go to our church community group on Wednesday nights.  That said, I was thrilled when I got home and saw that the Pirates had pulled off yet another win.  Tonight’s win marks their first ever sweep at Minute Maid Park, which is a milestone in itself.  However, the Brewers’ loss tonight also means that the Pirates are now alone at the top of the NL Central.  So far, this season has been better than I could have realistically hoped for.  Obviously, there are still 159 games left in the regular season, so it’s a little early to make bold statements about whether the Pirates will have a winning season this year or, dare we hope, make the post-season.  That said, the Pirates already have 3 wins under their belts (it took them 10 games last year to reach 3 wins) and they’re looking good.  Let’s keep it up!




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