Cubs fans, here's who to thank
If you're a Chicago Cubs fan (or a loyal to baseball in general), you can thank the Phillies play-by-play announcer Harry Kalas and the TV production crew for helping you in the 9th inning. Kalas had openly stated several times "Eric Milton is X outs away from a no-hitter" and they ran highlights of previous no-hitters (Milton's in '99 and Millwood's in '03) right before the top of the 9th inning.
Update: Ok, so the Phils won anyway. But just know that Kalas helped make it interesting for ya's.
One Brilliant Coaster
A student group of whom I am an alumnus went to Hershey Park this past weekend, and I experienced probably the best roller coaster ever built.
First things first, on another ride in the park I was amused when I saw this sign posted at the entrance to the line: "Approx 1 Hour wait from this point when queue is full." Only the true computer geek would understand the humor in their use of the word queue vice line. Alas, I only noticed it on the one ride.
I would not call myself a roller-coaster enthusiast. I dont hop from park to park each summer just to see what new thrill has just been built. But I do enjoy the big bad coasters and make sure to ride them when I am visiting an amusement park. Hershey had so many we didnt actually get to all of them. But this one, Storm Runner, just had to ridden.
Storm Runner is Hershey's newest big ride for the season, and what makes it unique is that the ride does not utilize the traditional big climb up a hill to the opening drop, rather it uses a series of electro magnets to throw the train from a dead stop into the first incline.
The ride for me actually started before getting in line. Getting off one ride led us to a spot where you walk under the tracks and see the riders take off. We noticed other members of our group on board about to become the latest victims, er, riders, and watched them get thrown into the ride itself. We quickly walked to the line, which started on the other side of the loading dock, and saw a train pulling in and noticed the same people on board. The collective thought: "Are they done already?"
After watching a few trains pull out and return, we clocked the meat of the ride to 28 seconds from launch to when the brakes are hit at the end. The "brakes" were actually magnetic plates that bring the train to a dead stop, but very silently unlike conventional coasters. In fact, the most noise other than the screams were the pistons that moved pieces of switchtrak on each side of the loading dock, allowing the two trains to each have their own loading platform.
Finally, we board. We get brought out into the launch area. A pair of speakers provide a deep male voice reminiscient of an old horror flick. What the voice says at first I could never figure out, except that it pauses for a few moments during which a heartbeat is sounding, and then that stops suddenly. A few clicks from below the track and the train begins to roll backward very slowly. The voice says, "Now get ready, here we go!" and not a moment to spare later, you're sent down this long straight and horizontally level section of track about a football field long into an incline that goes straight up.
According to the brochoure to the park, you're moved from 0 to 72 mph in 2 seconds and go up an 18 story-tall tower. The tower is shaped like an upside-down U, so when you go straight up, you come straight down. The ladies are screaming bloody murder. Myself, I'm shouting in enjoyment, at one crying out "This is f*ckin' brilliant!!"
A loop, a corkscrew, some fast hills and a close call with the underside of the monorail track later, and you're finished. Your heart is thumping and even your eyes have begun to water. Anyone silly enough to wear their hats have long lost them, and possibly even some sunglasses that weren't tucked away.
If you visit central PA this summer, make sure you try this out. For us, it was only about a 45 minute line the two times we rode, and it was well worth it. The computer-generated preview movies on the Hershey Park website are decently representative of the ride, but just dont do this thing justice. It must be ridden.
RIP: St. Joseph's Hawks
Wow. I cant believe they lost. Time for them to join the long line of Philly teams... 2003 & 2004 Eagles, '64 Phillies (IIRC on the year), 1998 Flyers... the list goes on....
St Joe's struggling at URI.....
Uh oh. The undefeated St Joe's Hawks having trouble against Rhode Island......
Is this an upset in the making?
Update: No upset. SJU gutted it out to win by two. 57-55.
More Office Lunacy....
On Friday, the Phillies held an auction and sale of leftover items from Veterans Stadium. At one point, the man inside the Phanatac's suit (the mascot) took a break, took off the costume, and walked around for a while. Upon return to the dressing room, the headpiece was gone.
A guy here at work who holds season tickets went to auction and bought a few things (small bottle of dirt, square of turf, square of wall).
Monday night into Tuesday word of the theft had leaked out into the press, and the joke was made that the co-worker was responsible. So last night I threw together an official-looking Wanted poster, complete with Phila Police Dept badge emblem and official-sounding description. Except I didnt have a picture of the guy. A co-worker went into the folder containing our ID pictures, and got me one (dont worry, it's a full 3x5 image, not a thumbnail).
I hung the 8.5x11 poster on the bulletin board near this guy's cube, and it didnt take long to be noticed. The connection was quickly made that the photo was from the guy's ID, pointing the finger at the guy who provided it to me. He thus far has played along, especially since he's the better known office prankster :-)
Luxury of a Leadfooted Driver
So I had a meeting to go to this morning at 10:30. The building is about two miles away, and the meeting itself only lasts about 5-10 minutes, with only about 86 seconds worth of actual official business, the rest is people bs'ing about various stuff.
So I planned on leaving at 10:15. At 10:05, the guy who told me 10:30 walks by my cube saying "Why are here? Meeting's at 10." I'm like "You told me 10:30." Back and forth for a few seconds, and I throw on my jacket and such, and race over.
Then I couldn't remember my PIN code to get in the building. It had been awhile since I needed it, so I wasn't surprised. Being in a rush didnt help.
The guard coudln't look up PINs on his terminal, but he took pity and let me in, and I got there in time to catch them on their way out. Got all the paperwork and made copies of someone's notes, and saved my @$$.
While I've never gotten pulled over or anything, I do drive with a leaded foot. I was probably going 60+ on the country road that goes to the building, that has a limit of 45. Never thought that kind of driving would come in handy, but it did today.
please leave your problems outside the office, thanx
why cant people check their home life at the door?
I have a girl in the next cube on the phone with (I think) her fiance regarding problems with the babysitter. Yesterday it was something involving insurance for their new house. A few weeks back it was the interest rate on their home loan. And now it sounds like troubles with DYFS over her ex-b/f, who's the father of the baby.
Every day she spends time on lengthy phone calls over all these and other problems. You would think I'd get some peace when she goes to have a cigarette - nope - she leaves her cell phone at her desk which is guaranteed to go off at least once during her brief absence. And not on silence or vibrate - but with an seranading yet annoying ringer.
ok - rant over. but she's still yapping.
Now that the Iggles have lost (again)....
What will Eagles fans do for the off-season?
Personal Accounting Software?
So, since I'm pretty much gonna be on my own soon (been living w/ my parents for about 6 months and working full time, thinking about a townhome or something), I'd like to get my finances under control and planned. I think some simple accounting software might help me out with budgeting, forecasting, spending projections, etc. Integration with my bank's online account access wont be necessary.
Dilbert, according to me (or, what I did at work today)
In a recent JE, I commented that I was planning on using a Dilbert strip of some sort to the replace a cartoon on the chart listing who gets the job of assembling our group's weekly report.
Here's what I've come up with:
I started with this strip of PHB and dilbert having a brief discussion. I removed all the text and, in the third frame, spun Dilbert around to face PHB and removed PHB's left arm from view. The script now reads (PHB is the only speaker):
Frame 1: We're required to do a weekly report. All the engineers will e-mail you their status each Thursday.
Frame 2: Your job will be to compile these reports into a single document.
Frame 3: I will then make incomprehensible changes and send the report to management with your name on it.
The above strip will go at the top of the sheet listing each month's "stukee." While searching through dilbert.com's archive, I also found this juicy nugget which I plan on placing at the bottom of the sheet.
No one in my group knows of this quite yet. The guy in the next may have seen me working on it, but he may not have noticed.
I plan on drafting up the sheet and passing it out via email as a late christmas present to my group :-)
Poll: Who feels the worst this morning?
Poll assumes you know a few things from yesterday's NFL games:
A) Kicker for New Orleanes
B) The ball holder in that same play
C) Todd Pinkston for fumbling the ball with no one around at the 3 yd line
D) McNabb for that interception in OT
E) Automatic Akers for two missed kicks
Dave Barry takes on computer security
Quickies: Life Imitates Mr Burns; Glad I'm not in modeling
Office christmas party was friday night. During dinner the head honcho walked around shaking hands, got to our table, and didnt know somebody's name.
One of the other ballrooms at the catering place we were at had some modeling group with their christmas party. Last year, I'm told, the same group was there the same night, and people walked in drunk as anything wanting our alcohol (open bar, but we had to provide the drinks). We took measures against that this year (a sign on the door saying our company name and "invited guests only"). I was also told the modeling group made their party more of a meat market. After going to the men's room at one point, I went up to the guy who told me that and said he was right on the money. Ever see a 40+ year old woman in a dress better suited for a 20-25 year old? Or a woman that old wearing a dress that cuts down the middle below her boobs without anything holding them up?
The Army-Navy Game
The Army-Navy Football Game will be played tomorrow. Army is 0-12 on the season, Navy I dont know other than something better.
Working for a Navy contractor has exposed me to numerous retired Naval personel. The following email was recently passed around the office:
West Point (NY) -- Army football practice was delayed nearly two hours yesterday after a player reported finding an unknown white powdery substance on the practice field. New head coach, John Mumford, immediately suspended practice while police and federal investigators were called to investigate. After a complete analysis by both the FBI and Army Intelligence, forensic experts determined the white substance unknown to players was the goal line.
Practice was resumed after special agents decided the team was unlikely to encounter the substance again.
Snow! AHH! We need 2 gallons milk, 3 loaves bread...
and my area is only predicted to get 3 +/- 1.5 inches by Saturday.
We needed milk here at home (simply running out) so I went to WaWa to get a gallon. The tiny parking lot was a madhouse for being 9pm on a Thursday. One interesting observation: People will happily park in the handicapped space despite not having the sticker (or apparent need) for it, but will avoid the 3 remaining "employees only" spaces in the back like the plague. On my way out there had to be four cars waiting for people to leave just so they could park themselves.
My prediction for this incoming "winter storm" (and it ain't technically winter yet) is a snow/rain mix, but no accumulation due to said rain and that most of it all will fall during the daytime tomorrow, keeping the roads clear.
Who's Discounting iPods?
I was hoping to get an Apple iPod for Christmas. Alas, it's too expensive and out of the budget. So I'm forced into purchasing it for myself. Hoping to cash in on a holiday season bargain, I've been keeping my eye on the sales circulars that come in the newspaper. I've seen plenty of discounts for MP3 players of all kinds (Rio's, Dell's new HD-based player, etc), and the iPod has also shown up. Christmas does not yet seem very merry to me. They always at the regular $299/399/499 price, never at a discount of any sort. You read that right, it's "for sale" at the *regular* price. Stores guilty of this include Best Buy, Cicuit City, Target, and CompUSA. The other day came in the mail a 10% off coupon for various items at Best Buy, including "MP3 Players" as indicated on the front of slip. Hoping this was how I was gonna get that discount, I set aside time this weekend to drive to Deleware in order to skip out on my local state sales tax too. I turned the coupon over, and in the legal disclaimer was the phrase "Exludes Apple iPod Players." Needless to say, a Merry Christmas is still aways off. Why do stores do this? How often? And does anyone know why Apple has been singled out while their competition has gotten their products discounted? Anyone know who *is* granting discounts on iPods this holiday season?
Calling all Dilbert archivists....
I'm looking for a Dilbert strip that somehow discusses the topic of a weekly status report. I'd like to use it for something at work involving our weekly status reports. If you know of one online somewhere or remember what the script was like, please post a link or description.
Also, does anyone know what font Scott Adams uses in his strips? I may wish hack together my own using clipings from the Internet if I cant find one like that above.
TIA on both.
Update: Some more detail:
We have a weekly report whereby engineers submit their status to the "stuckee" who compiles them, and then forwards it to the group leader, who adds his stuff and passes it up the chain. The stuckee is decided on a monthly rotation among the rank-and-file engineers and published in a one-page word doc that gets distributed whenever it needs updating (eg, a new hire comes aboard). The 2004 schedule will probably come out first week of January.
That .doc file contains a simple and cheap clip-art that shows someone quitely slipping out of an office with the boss inside shouting "alright, who's got the weekly this month!" The cartoon lacks laughter and I dont how old it is.
I'm looking to replace it with a dilbert strip that's actually somewhat humorous. I've even thought of a decent script (needs some hashing out), but I want to see what is already out there before I slave away hours trying to hack together something by cutting/pasting existing scripts. It's sorta something like the PHB saying "Wally, everyone will send you their weekly reports, you compile them and send it to me [next frame] While you do that, do this-that-&-the-other to the report [next] I will then undo those changes and forward the report to management with your name on it" (I admit, it needs some work, but I think I can make it fly)
NASA Soliciting Public Comment on Shuttle Repairs
In search of elusive ideas from the imagination of a 10-year old or a retired physics academic, NASA is soliciting comments from the public on how to protect the current shuttle fleet from foam strikes and other hazards. CNN mentions some of the ideas already submitted. The address to send your idea is firstname.lastname@example.org. They say that every idea, no matter how silly, impractical, or whatever, will receive an official response and will be reviewed extensively within the NASA chain of command. Hmmm. I wonder if they've considered securing the foam with duct tape?
Have A Beer While You Vote
Major cities often have trouble meeting the election law requirement of providing a public polling place close to home. The Philadelphia Daily News explains why you may end up casting your vote at a funeral home, in someone's living room, a Krispy Kreme shop, and even the local tavern.
For the record - I've already voted, at the school gym. The local police chief marked off how far away from the door campaigners had to stand, and I was approached by the guy running for mayor as I walked past him. Didn't have the heart to tell him I wasn't voting for him :-)
Language Inventor ....... or Serial Killer?
I did pretty good. 7 out of 10 right. How well will you do?