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For Lunch I

pagsz Am I the Only One... (566 comments)

That read the question as "For Lunch 1 (One)"? Gotta cut back on the Hobbit-esque eating habits.

more than 6 years ago

Submissions

pagsz hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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Catching Up . . .

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 11 years ago Well, it's been a little while since I plopped something down into this here journal. The past couple of months have been a little bit busier; between work, school, and TV. That, and obsessing over a girl I like. Ah, to be young and in love . . .and incredibly stupid to boot.

However, I feel I owe it to all my adoring fans out there in Slashdot-land to update my little corner of the internet. That, or I'm bored senseless. Can't quite remember which it was. The thing is, I know I'm here for some reason.

_______ _______ _______

So, here's the events of recent months, in no particular order whatsoever:

  • So, the last time I posted here was December of 2002, near the end of the fall semester. I did OK, but not as good as I would have liked. I have to retake one of the courses this semester (Damn my laziness!). The spring semester has gotten rolling, and I'm getting into the flow of things again.
  • On Valentine's Day, I left a rose for the girl I like. I wanted to ask her out then, but I blew the chance. There were a couple of romantic things I wanted to say, but I froze up. I've been working up my nerve all week to say something. Needless to say, I am not so good with these things that are referred to as "women." Like I said before: young, in love, and really quite dumb.
  • I mentioned a while back (I think April of 2002) that I was trying to lose weight. Well, I have done so. Since that post, I have lost somewhere close to 100 frelling pounds. That's not a typo. One with two zeroes. Let's suffice it to say, I look, feel, sound, smell and taste a whole lot better (not to mention my ability to communicate with the dead has improved substantially).
  • WHEN THE FRELL IS SPRING GOING TO START!!!
    I mean, this winter has sucked. Cold, windy, and a little too much snow for my tastes (I live in SE Massachusetts, and was not all too happy with the two feet of snow to drop on Monday).
    I forget, did that stupid groundhog see his shadow or not?
  • GODDAMN SEGMENTATION FAULT! HOW I HATE THEE!
    I know it's something simple I'm missing, I just gotta track it down (I'm working on something for a class).
    You know, it really would help if I put these test lines before the return, huh?

_______ _______ _______

I thought I had more to say, but I guess not. Maybe my life really is that dull. Oh, well. It's mine and I'm not giving it back. Wouldn't mind an upgrade package though. Who knows, maybe I can swing a date with that girl . . .

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The Blitz

pagsz pagsz writes  |  about 12 years ago Man, has this been a long couple of months. The latter half of the semester is really dragging, and the work has been piling up like a son of a bitch. OK, so that last part is mostly my fault, I have a habit of putting things off. Still, it's been a hell of a ride.

It all started back in November with my second project for my CIS 370 course. The point of the project was to simulate different CPU scheduling algorithms. It was a whale of a time to write, let me tell you. It was a team project, so I had a partner working with me on it. Between November 13 and 14 (I believe, but around that time) we must have spent 16 hours staring at a friggin' computer screen. Man, was it fun. Hands down the biggest program I have ever written. It ended up being something like 17 pages of code. Admittedly, it was a bit bloated. I probably could have trimmed back a couple of pages if I had really wanted to, but I didn't. The damned thing worked, so I didn't really care if there was a little bit of redundant code in it.

The week of Thanksgiving I spent working on a project for my other CIS course, 360. I ended up finishing up a day late on it, so I get 90% credit. Damn my lazy ass! With that finished, it was time to focus on the paper.

I had a term paper due for the 370 course. Ten pages on the operating system of my choice. I chose Linux (the choice was made in September, the work began this past Thursday). With the paper due today, December 9, I had exactly 0 words written as of December 5. Another long day. Spent about eight hours on the Net, gathering information and stuffing whatever seemed relevant into my budding paper. Got 9 pages written that day. Finished up the last coupe of pages last night, and did a little bit of spit-and-polish this morning.

Oh, I almost forgot the third project for the 370 course. Also due today. I got fairly well into it as of Wednesday, so I should be able to polish it off today. Due today.

One more thing: I have a test today in my MTH 331 course. Probability. The probability stuff isn't that bad, but I've been struggling with the calculus. So, over the weekend I studied that.

Did I mention that during this period I've been working 35 hours a week on average? And a couple went over 40?

Anyway, this is the last week of classes. After finals next week, I get six weeks off from academia. Man, am I gonna need it. My frelling brain needs a rest.

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Transportation Woes

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago So, on Sunday afternoon, my car broke down in the back parking lot of the Fall River Wal-Mart. It was fun, standing out in the cold waiting for a tow truck for an hour. After working an eight-hour shift. Fun stuff.

I dropped the car off to be checked out, to see if its worth repairing, but left the wrong keys. So, they couldn't get to it on Monday. I should hear something about it today.

Today, I took the bus for the first time since getting my car last November. Except I didn't know that the route had changed. Oh, well. Everything ended up working out. I got to class on time, and none the worse. After class, I have to take the bus from the campus back into Fall River to go to work today. Just what I want to do. Go to work.
____________________________

The question is, is the car worth repairing? Let's weigh some facts:

  1. > 193,000 miles on it
  2. No heat
  3. Recurring brake problems
  4. Blown struts in the back, resulting in essentially a half-lowrider
  5. Stripped ceiling (mmmm ... metal)
  6. Roof leaks
  7. Smells funny
  8. No radio, no cassette player
  9. Mismatched tires (P205 75R14 in front, P205 70R14 in back
  10. No visor on the driver's side (mmmm. . .blinded)
  11. Plus . . . I frelling hate it!!!!!

Then again . .

  1. One year of use for less than $400 (not including gas and insurance)
  2. Good on oil, only needing the regular oil changes
  3. Good on gas, ~20 MPG
  4. Ran pretty well for the year

____________________________

Oh, well . . . I figure if I can squeeze a few more miles out of the sucker I'll be all right. That way, I can save up a little bit of money so my next car isn't another temporary-solution-junker.

Still, I can't wait to get a nice car. I've never had one before. I've had four pieces of crap in four years. I want something better, something I can admit to driving without qualifying it with "until I find something better." Unfortunately, I just don't have enough money to make that dream come true at the moment.

Update: 11:19 AM -- Friday November 1 2002

Well, on Wednesday night I found out what was wrong with the car (timing chain had gone, along with some collateral damage to the pistons). The repairs were likely to cost in the $300 - $1,000 range; meaning it wouldn't really be worth it to repair (considering that would only cover that critical problem; the heat, tires and brakes notwithstanding). So, it was obvious I was going to need a new set of wheels. Yesterday, my father picked me up and we looked around. He had been planning to get a new car sometime anyway, so the way we figured it was if we found something in my price range, I'd buy it. If we couldn't find anything decent in my range, but found something in his, he'd buy it and I'd get his old car (a 1992 Oldsmobile in very good condition; ~118,000 miles on it) for $800 (which is what he would have gotten had he traded it in). The latter ended up working out, although I was tempted by a 1995 Grand Am. Unfortunately, it was a little bit more than I can afford, so I ultimately decided to go with Plan B.

By the middle of next week, I should be on the road again. Then I can move my attention to other concerns: school, work, and getting laid.

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Ramblings of an Idiot (26th Installment)

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Well, would you look at that! It's been a month and a half since my last Ramblings of an Idiot post. Have you missed them?

Anyway, I decided after RoaI (25I) to back off a little bit. My journal was being reduced to an unending series of RoaI. I decided that when I had something to say, I'd dedicate a post to it. That's not to say I wanted to abandon RoaI, not at all. These stupid (not so) little posts can be fun. Just decided that not every post should be one.

Anyway, let's get rolling . . .

  1. Work: Looking back at RoaI (24I), I noticed something I felt needed updating. I mentioned that the guy that worked before me quit on August 20. Well, as of October 15, no one had replaced him. That, and the other guy to work mornings worked last over a week ago, on October 6. So the morning has been completely uncovered for a week and a half!
  2. Odd Thoughts: This morning, while in the shower, I got the song Nowhere Man by The Beatles stuck in my head (it stayed there for about an hour after). Anyway, I began think of a certain person as the "Nowhere Man" -- our President, George W. Bush.

    He's a real nowhere man
    Sitting in his nowhere land
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

    Doesn't have a point of view
    knows not where he's going to
    Isn't he a bit like you and me?
    Nowhere man please listen
    You don't know what you're missing
    Nowhere man, The world is at your command

    He's as blind as he can be
    Just sees what he wants to see
    Nowhere man, can you see me at all
    Nowhere man don't worry
    Take your time, don't hurry
    Leave it all till somebody else
    Lends you a hand
    Ah, la, la, la, la

    Doesn't have a point of view
    knows not where he's going to
    Isn't he a bit like you and me?
    Nowhere man please listen
    You don't know what you're missing
    Nowhere man, The world is at your command
    Ah, la, la, la, la

    He's a real nowhere man
    Sitting in his nowhere land
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

    Just a thought . . .>

    Sidenote: This is the second time I've posted song lyrics in my journal. How long do you think it will be before the RIAA tries to sue me?

  3. Baseball: Well, it's the San Francisco Giants and Anaheim Angels in the World Series. I didn't see that one coming (I didn't even have these two teams in the playoffs). It should be a good series, though. The Angels have been playing great baseball, and we'll get to see what Barry Bonds can do on the biggest stage.

    Prediction: Angels in 7

  4. Transportation: On Monday night, I went over to my father's place to catch the Monday night football game. When I left at 12:30, it was just above freezing (35 degrees). So what you say? My car has no heat. It was goddamn cold in that stupid car. I spent the half-hour ride shivering my ass off.

    God I hate my frelling car!

  5. Posting: Today was the first day I posted in response to a story, and not just in my journal, in three months! When I first started reading Slashdot, I posted every other day. I guess that was partially because I wanted to see that Karma number keep going up, and up, and up. Now that it's in text form (and already at Excellent), I got nothing to be anal about. That , and I've had a lot less time to peruse Slashdot recently.

END TRANSMISSION

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MLB Regular Season Wrap-Up

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Well, the baseball season ended Sunday. The Boston Red Sox failed to qualify for the playoffs again this year (but I won't get started on them). For now, I will compare my predictions ( Killing Time (And Hoping to Dodge the Murder Charge) ) with actual results:
_________________________

AMERICAN LEAGUE:
East:

  • I picked: New York Yankees
  • At break: New York Yankees
  • Champion: New York Yankees

Not surprising, really. The Yankees are loaded, featuring great pitchers who are near the end of their careers, and great position players who are in their prime. The Red Sox couldn't even come close to keeping up, finishing 10 1/2 games behind.

Central:

  • I picked: Minnesota Twins
  • At break: Minnesota Twins
  • Champion: Minnesota Twins

The Twins had no real competition in their division. The Indians and White Sox were disappointing, and the Royals and Tigers never really had a shot.

West:

  • I picked: Oakland A's
  • At break: Seattle Mariners
  • Champion: Oakland A's

A much better division than I expected. The A's, Angels, and Mariners all had very good seasons. The A's took control down the stretch, including that amazing 20-game winning streak.

Wild Card:

  • I picked: Seattle Mariners
  • At break: Boston Red Sox
  • Champion: Anaheim Angels

I'll admit, I had no clue on this one. I had no clue that the Angels would put together the season they did. Even as the A's won 20 straight, the Angels somehow kept it close. The Red Sox and Mariners fell off in the second half (which to be honest, is kinda what you come to expect from the Sox).
____________

NATIONAL LEAGUE:
East:

  • I picked: New York Mets
  • At break: Atlanta Braves
  • Champion: Atlanta Braves

OK, I was completely and totally wrong about the Mets. They stunk. The Braves, as usual, were a dominant team. They finished with the NL's best record, winning over 100 games again. 11th consecutive division title.

Central:

  • I picked: Houston Astros
  • At break: St. Louis Cardinals
  • Champion: St. Louis Cardinals

Another one I was way off-base on. The Astros did mount a second-half run, but they weren't quite good enough to catch up to the Cards. Props to the Cards, who won despite the difficult events of this season.

West:

  • I picked: Arizona Diamondbacks
  • At break: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Champion: Arizona Diamondbacks

My only correct pick in the NL. This was a damned good division, with the D-Backs, Dodgers, and Giants all contending. In the end, the Dodgers slipped back and the D-Backs held off the Giants.

Wild Card:

  • I picked: St. Louis Cardinals
  • At break: Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Champion: San Francisco Giants

Wrong again. The Cards did make the playoffs, but did so through a division title. I didn't think the Giants would be this good this year, but like a few other teams, they proved me wrong.
____________

FINAL SCORE:
Four right (AL East, AL Central, AL West, NL West)
Four wrong (NL East, NL Central, AL Wild Card, NL Wild Card)

Hey, 50% ain't half bad. Oh, wait, it is . . .
_________________________

REVISED PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS:

ALDS 1: Yankees over Angels
ALDS 2: A's over Twins

ALCS: A's over Yankees
____________

NLDS 1: Braves over Giants
NLDS 2: Cardinals over Diamondbacks

NLCS: Cardinals over Braves
____________

World Series: A's over Cardinals

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Note to Self:

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Just a friendly little reminder:

  1. Go to XUL Planet and download the Preferences Toolbar.
  2. Also, go to DeskMod and download the Orbit theme.
  3. Then go ahead and download the Mozilla Red T-Rex Icon.
  4. And when you're done with that, download the Starting windows (cross your fingers) start-up screen (or maybe the Windows Girl).
  5. And then, download the Look, Mozilla! or My splash splash screen.
  6. On Monday, download the Preferences Toolbar, Orbit theme, and Mozilla Red T-Rex Icon for the Cranston computer.

_______________________

Why? Because I said so, young man! Why? Why do you have to question every single little thing I ask you! I have the authority around here! I'm you, and that should be good enough reason for you to listen to me.

By the way, I am not suffering from mental illness, I'm thoroughly enjoying it thank you very much . . .
_______________________

I'm writing this reminder into my journal as opposed to in an e-mail or on paper because this is the way that's most likely to result in me finding it again. I only check my e-mail once or twice a month (when I had Hotmail, it was basically a spam collector), and I'm very likely to lose a piece of paper. I take a gander at my journal quite often, for various random reasons (boredom, forgetfulnes, a longing sense of nostalgia for days gone by . . . ).

Update: 09:51 AM -- Thursday September 26 2002

1, 2, 4, and 5 have been completed. Didn't have any luck with 3, just gave me a page of gibberish. Of course, 6 will have to wait until Monday

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Downloading Mozilla Again

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Yes, it's that time again. Time to spend an hour downloading the newest release of my favorite browser, Mozilla. So, approximately an hour from now, I will have Mozilla 1.2 Alpha up and running on my computer.
____________________

I will be downloading Mozilla again on Monday, but not for this machine. My father recently bought a computer, which he and my brother will use. So, I will download Mozilla 1.1 for them. Over there, I will download only feature releases, as stability will be more important to them than it is to me.

It's ironic though . . . For the machine I update with every release, I have a dial-up connection. For the machine that will only be updated with feature releases, I get to use a broadband connection.

Update: 09:57 AM -- Thursday September 12 2002

. . . And Again: Windows crashed about three-quarters way through the download. So, now it's back to the beginning. Oh, well, such is life with Windows . . .

Update: 12:47 PM -- Monday September 16 2002

Though I installed Mozilla 1.2 Alpha on Thursday, I still haven't actually used it. I didn't feel like surfing much by the time 1.2a was downloaded, and haven't gotten a chance since (at least on my home computer, to which I downloaded 1.2a). Won't get a chance today, either. After spending 9:00 - 4:15 on-campus, I'm headin' over to my father's place for dinner and the Monday Night Football game. Maybe I'll see how 1.2a handles tomorrow.

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September 11th: One Year Later

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Like every other American, I can never forget that day. The shock, the horror, the anger. It was the day everything changed; it was the day nothing changed.

Since I didn't start posting in the journal until February, I've never posted on the topic of September 11th before. By the time I discovered the journal, it was too late to record the raw emotion I had felt during that week. However, looking back from one year later allows for a more thoughtful reflection upon the events of the day. So here, for my own memory and the curiosity of anyone who happens to pass through, I will record my recollection of that fateful day.

Since the attacks on September 11th were on all of America, I will avoid politics in this post as much as possible. Everyone was affected by that day, be they Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, black or white. I will endeavor only to record my experience of the events that day, what I saw and what I felt.

One Man's Memory:

It started like any other day. I got up in the morning, ate breakfast, took a shower, and left for my first class of the day. It was an 8:00 class, CIS 272 if I remember correctly. I had it on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8:00 until 9:15.

The timeline from 9:15 until 10:00 is a little fuzzy; it's a little hard to remember exactly how things went down for me. I'll write them here as best I can remember.

So, 9:15 comes, and the class ends. Unbeknownst to me, the fateful events of the day had already started. For me, though, it was to that point still a day like any other. Not having another class for a couple of hours that day, I headed over to the library to do a little reading. Probably took about five minutes to get there, so I reached the library around 9:20. I walked in, and remember seeing a CNN feed on the screen at the other end of the room (maybe sixty feet). That part of the library was often used by classes for video presentations, so I assumed that's what it was. I distinctly remember seeing "Washington" up on the screen, but I assumed it had something to do with politics, something for a political science class. Not having any clue what it was, I ignored it. The library had some magazine racks just in and right from the entrance (behind and to the right of the screen), so that's where I went for a few minutes. I looked at a couple of magazines, and then sat down for a few minutes. I could hear the CNN feed, but couldn't really make out what was being said. I found it a bit irritating, so after a few minutes I left the library. In the basement of the library there is a computer lab (it is not accessible from inside the library, though). Somewhere around 9:30 that's where I went. I sat down in front of a Mac, and proceeded to go online as I always do, to kill time. There were a couple of people talking, and I happened to overhear what they were saying. One mentioned that a pair of airplanes had hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Upon hearing this, I headed over to Slashdot. There it was, as plain as day: World Trade Towers and Pentagon attacked. For a few moments, I read through a few comments. Next, I tried CNN.com and MSNBC.com, to no avail. Couldn't get through. So, back to Slashdot. I read through more comments. One very simple one stands out in my mind (don't have a link): "Bin Laden has gone too far this time." Don't know why, but I will probably always remember that comment.

Needless to say, after seeing the article on Slashdot, I realized what I had seen in the library upstairs. That was what was being shown on CNN. I decided to go back up to the library. This was a few minutes before 10:00.

I stood in front of the screen, horrified. I don't remember what was being covered during those first few minutes I was watching. The reality of it all was still setting in.

And then it happened. The South Tower fell. I was stunned. Completely and totally stunned. Watching the tower come down. It happened so fast, and yet it almost seemed to be in slow motion. I couldn't help thinking (as, no doubt, others couldn't), "This seems like a movie." It had that feel to it. It felt more like special effects than news.

For a few moments, I stared at the image of the North Tower, standing alone against the New York skyline. It was an odd scene. I began thinking, this is how its going to be tomorrow. A lone tower sticking up into the New York skyline. It seemed so surreal, the North Tower standing alone. An image I will never forget.

A few moments later, however, my thoughts shifted. Shifted to the reality of all the people who had been trapped in that building as it came down. People going to work. Policemen and firefighters trying to save lives. All the people in and around the building when it came down. They had no chance.

Shortly later, news started filtering in about the fourth plane in Pennsylvania. At first it was mostly rumor and speculation. Government buildings were being evacuated. The UN, State and Justice Departments, World Bank. There were rumors of a bomb going off in front of the Justice Department (which later proved to be untrue).

Then the North Tower fell. Both towers gone. Replaced by billowing towers of smoke and light debris. It was just so surreal watching as that building came down. Somehow more so than the South Tower. The Twin Towers were gone. A familiar part of the New York skyline for thirty years, gone in a matter of hours.

I remember the street level views that began to come in. Streets suddenly flooded with smoke and debris. Low angle shots of the planes coming in. Shots of the Pentagon burning. The fire spreading and raging out of control (at that point). So many horrible images. It was all so surreal.

For the next few hours, I stood in front of that screen, watching in horror and disbelief. New reports poured in. President Bush flew around the country. Rumors and speculation abounded.

Around 2:00, it was announced that the campus would close at 3:00. I decided to stick around for the hour, transfixed by the horror on the screen. Somehow, I couldn't peel myself away from it.

When 3:00 arrived, I left. I walked to my car in disbelief, the images from the morning flooding my mind. I got in my car, the radio tuned to 94.1, WHJY. For the day, the station was picking up CBS news (every TV and radio station ran news that day). I listened to Dan Rather for the next half hour.

When I got home, I immediately turned on the television. I talked with my mother for a few moments, about the morning and how because of it I was out of school early. I bounced around between different news stations, between CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, CBS, ABC, and NBC.

I watched the rest of the day, as buildings continued to fall down. I watched until about midnight. I couldn't take my eyes off the coverage. It was an odd combination, of shock, anger, and morbid curiosity (would another building fall?). I awoke in the middle of the night, and put the coverage back on for a few moments, before going back to sleep.

There was a thought that kept running through my mind that day. I knew a little bit about what had happened at Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941; but I never though I could understand the shock, the horror, and the anger that Americans felt on that day. Until September 11th. Suddenly, I understood. I can now understand what it must have felt like that day sixty-one years ago, when America learned of the Japanese attack. September 11th, in a way, was even more shocking: the whole country, and in fact the whole world, watched it on happen. I had watched, via the CNN feed, both the North and South towers fall. In 1941, Americans did not get the images of the attack until weeks later. But I could not help but feel a connection, between the shock and anger of the Pearl Harbor attack and the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. I understood.

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CIS 370 Lab, Week One

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago So here I am in the first lab for my CIS 370: Design of Operating Systems course. The focus of this lab is Unix (which is cool, for at the current time I know just about nothing about Unix). Today's first lab has focused on a few basic commands; mkdir, pwd, ls, cd, cat, rm, rmdir, cp, mv, head, tail, and date thus far.

It's just an introduction to the basic commands and an opportunity to play around with them. So I created and deleted a few directories and files, checked my directory every fifth command, and generally screwed around for almost an hour (of course, interspersed with that was updating and previewing this post).

That's all for today, so once I get this journal post done I think I shall be heading off to work (I want to get in early to see if anyone will be there, grumble grumble grumble)
________________________

As I mentioned before, the computers here are running Linux. Red Hat 7.3 to be precise. Today, I've gotten my first taste of GNOME. It's a lot more like Windows than I expected. It didn't take me that long to get used to the interface. The other ins and outs of the system will no doubt take a bit longer. Anyway, I am now absolutely sure that my next system will be running Linux (for a while, I had thought about going Mac. If you recall, I mentioned getting a taste of Mac OS X in the First Day of Class post).

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Oakland A's Win 20th Straight Game

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Yesterday, the Oakland A's won their 20th consecutive game, defeating the Kansas City Royals in dramatic fashion. After the team blew an 11 run lead, Scott Hatteberg hit a game-winning, pinch hit home run with one out in the ninth (I missed it! I fell asleep just after the Royals tied it!).

The A's 20th consecutive win broke the old American League record of 19, held by the 1906 Chicago White Sox and the 1947 New York Yankees. The Major League record is 26, held by the 1916 New York Giants.

Anyway, here's the streak:

  1. 8/13 vs Toronto: 5 - 4
  2. 8/14 vs Toronto: 4 - 2
  3. 8/16 vs Chicago White Sox: 1 - 0
  4. 8/17 vs Chicago White Sox: 9 - 2
  5. 8/18 vs Chicago White Sox: 7 - 4
  6. 8/19 at Cleveland: 8 - 1
  7. 8/20 at Cleveland: 6 - 3
  8. 8/21 at Cleveland: 6 - 0
  9. 8/22 at Cleveland: 9 - 3
  10. 8/23 at Detroit: 9 - 1
  11. 8/24 at Detroit: 12 - 3
  12. 8/25 at Detroit: 10 - 7
  13. 8/26 at Kansas City: 6 - 3
  14. 8/27 at Kansas City: 6 - 4
  15. 8/28 at Kansas City: 7 - 1
  16. 8/30 vs Minnesota: 4 - 2
  17. 8/31 vs Minnesota: 6 - 3
  18. 9/1 vs Minnesota: 7 - 5
  19. 9/2 vs Kansas City: 7 - 6
  20. 9/4 vs Kansas City: 12 - 11

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First Day of Class

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Well, today I had my first classes of the Fall 2002 semester. ENL 221: Existential Fiction at 9:00 (like morning is the best time for existentialism) followed by CIS 360: Algorithms & Data Structures at 10:00. Right now, I'm in the middle of a three-hour gap. Next class, CIS 370: Design of Operating Systems, starts at 2:00, followed by MTH 331: Probability at 3:00.

Yes, all of my classes are on a M - W - F basis (except MTH 331, which is M - W). It's weird having all my classes in one day like that, but it gives me two days off (well, almost, anyway, the CIS 370 Lab is Tuesday at 1:00).

Anyway, today is just the standard "first day of class" stuff anyway. Get the syllabus, go over the basics of the course, and that's it. The only other thing going on is people adding and dropping courses, shuffling around their schedules. I'm happy with what I've got, so I don't think I'm gonna need that Add/Drop slip. Two more quick course introductions, and then I can go home for the day.
________________________

Some random thoughts on Day 1 of F02:

  1. Lunch Lines: Getting lunch today was such a pain. I forgot how many people get crammed into that little space. It took about twenty minutes to get my food (two slices of pizza, chicken tenders, and a soda). Plus the guy behind in line me kept sticking his tray in my back. Kind of annoying.
  2. Back on a Mac: For the first time since May, I am using a Macintosh computer. It's also my first exposure to Mac OS X (10.1.S). I toyed around with it for a couple of minutes before logging on to Slashdot. It's a nice interface; I like it. Maybe my next machine will be a Mac. I'd miss the taskbar, but I'd learn to live without it. The tabbed browsing feature in Mozilla would make that a whole lot easier.

    Speaking of Mozilla, it's too bad that the campus computers don't have it installed. I'm gonna miss it. Right now, I'm using Netscape Communicator 4.79. I know some of the Windows machines have Netscape 6.2 installed, but I doubt I'll find Mozilla anywhere (or, for that matter, the newly-released Netscape 7).

    One thing I'd forgotten about Macs: It's not Control-C copy and Control-V to paste, it's Apple-C and Apple-V. Gotta remember that.

  3. Reading: Now that the new semester has started, I can resume reading the magazines I'm to cheap to subscribe to. It's a good way to kill those three hours between classes (that is, when I don't have any work to catch up on.
  4. People: A few of the people I work with at Wal-Mart in Fall River are also attending here at UMass Dartmouth. Saw one girl today, just after my first class.
  5. Time Off: With the fall semester starting up, I'm going to have fewer days that I can do absolutely nothing (which is my absolute favorite thing to do. Between classes and work, I'm probably going to have to do something every day of the week. Tomorrow is one exception: I have no classes and no work. I think I shall enjoy it.

Update: 08:00 PM -- Wednesday September 04 2002

Linux: Seems that through my CIS 370 course, I will get my first introduction to Linux. The computers for that Lab (mentioned above somewhere) are running it. Cool.

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Ruminations of a Red Sox Fan

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Well, with the baseball strike averted, Red Sox fans can return their attention to watching their team collapse when it counts (a yearly ritual in New England).

As of early June, the Red Sox had the best record in baseball. With a June 6 win over the Detroit Tigers, the Sox improved their record to 40 - 17 (3 1/2 up on the Yanks). Since then, they have gone 36 - 41. That's sub-.500 baseball. No wonder the Sox are sinking back in the standings (7 1/2 back in the East and 5 in back the Wild Card).

So, as is the norm in Boston, a promising spring is followed my a mediocre summer.
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Things don't look to get much better in the next few years either. In one fan's opinion, the Red Sox won't seriously contend for a World Series until at least 2010. Why? Simple: the farm system. The Red Sox have one of the weaker farm systems in the majors right now. Back in July, when negotiating a deal for OF Cliff Floyd, the Red Sox didn't offer much. That's only because they didn't have much to offer. They were probably the only team dealing honestly with Montreal (no other team offered up any prospects, the Red Sox didn't because they couldn't).

Take a look at the current roster. On the 2002 starting team, I can think of three that came up from the farm system: OF Trot Nixon, 3B Shea Hillenbrand, and SS Nomar Garciaparra. In the past ten years, the minor league system has produced three All-Stars: (now NY Met) 1B Mo Vaughn, and the aforementioned Hillenbrand and Garciaparra.

Now, for comparison, the Yankees. Current Yankees up from the farm: CF Bernie Williams, SS Derek Jeter, 2B Alfonso Soriano, C Jorge Posada, P Andy Pettite, and CL Mariano Rivera. All-Stars from the Yankees farm system: see above.
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The Red Sox can compete with the Yankees on a payroll basis. They can match pretty much dollar-for-dollar what the Yankees spend. What they can't match is the Yankees farm system. There's very little talent on the horizon, and any that comes in the next couple of years will take at least five years to develop.

The Red Sox aren't going to win by outspending everyone else, the Yankees are loaded and teams like the Athletics, Twins, and Mariners are smarter about how they use their money.

Until the farm system gets fixed, the Red Sox ain't gonna win anything. So, what does a Sox fan do in the meantime? Root for any team with a chance of knocking off the Yankees. If it can't be us, at least let it not be them.

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Baseball Strike Averted

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago For the first time in baseball history, a labor contract was negotiated without a work stoppage. Earlier today, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Player's Association agreed to a new labor contract to last through 2006.
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For the past couple of days, I checked ESPN and ESPNews a lot for news on the strike. As much as I said I was becoming apathetic to it (in RoaI (24 I)), I just had to know. As the clock ticked down, I wondered more and more if they were really going to do it. Go out on strike again, and shoot themselves in the foot one more time.

For obvious reasons, I had real reason to believe they were really going to do it. They'd done it eight times before, and there's still plenty of animosity left between the players and the owners. So as the deadline drew near, I began to worry that there might not be any baseball this September. For most of this morning, I kept the TV tuned to ESPN for the latest developments. And then, around noon, news came that a deal had been reached. There will indeed be a 2002 World Series.

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pagsz's 2002 NFL Preview, Part Two: NFC

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Yesterday I plopped down me preview for the AFC. Today, the NFC.
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East

Dallas Cowboys :
Over the past couple of years, the Cowboys have quietly rebuilt their offensive line into one of the better units in the NFL. This has helped rejuvinate the career of future Hall of Fame RB Emmitt Smith, who enters this season with a chance to break RB Walter Payton's all-time career rushing record. The question for this squad is not the running game, but the passing game. Can young QB Quincy Carter take command? One of his weapons, WR Raghib Ismail is out for the year, and WR Joey Galloway has not produced for the team yet.

The Cowboys feature a young and talented defense that has gotten better and better over the past couple of seasons. With a solid linebacking core led by LB Dexter Coakley, and a solid young secondary, the Cowboys should have one of the top defenses this year.

The Cowboys feature an improved young team, but one with big offensive question marks. They also play in the conference's toughest division. The team has the talent to make a run at the playoffs, if everything comes together. If not, it could be another long season in Dallas.

New York Giants :
Two years ago QB Kerry Collins rejuvenated his career and led the Giants to the Super Bowl. Last year, he fell back into mediocrity and fumbled the ball 23 times. The question for this year, which Collins will show up? As for the running game, dynamic RB Tiki Barber returns. His versatility always gives the Giants a chance on offense. If RB Ron Dayne can start producing as well, the Giants may have something going in the running game.

The Giants solid defense returns, headed by single-season sack champion DE Michael Strahan. However, the linebacking core lost LB Jesse Armstead, and CB Jason Sehorn has struggled in recent years.

The Giants should rebound after a difficult season last year, but the rest of their division has improved. The Giants will need to play much better than last year to make a run at the playoffs.

Philadelphia Eagles :
Talented QB Donovan McNabb will continue to be a dominant force for the Eagles offense. The question is, will he have a solid running game to complement his running talents? RB Deuce Staley is one of the better running backs in the league, when he is healthy. But that is the problem, as Staley has been prone to injuries.

The Eagles have a solid defense, one worthy of a Super Bowl contender. They feature a strong secondary, a must if they are to have any chance of defeating the likes of St. Louis or San Francisco. Gone from the defense is talented LB Jeremiah Trotter.

The Eagles fell just yards short of Super Bowl XXXVI last year. They are talented enough to make up those yards this year, but only if their luck holds out in regards to injuries.

Washington Redskins :
New head coach Steve Spurrier brings a new offensive philosophy to the Redskins: Just sling it around. However, the QBs on the Redskins roster have had little professional success. QBs Danny Wuerffel and Shane Matthews both had successful college careers with Spurrier in Florida, but have yet to produce in the NFL. Added to the mix is rookie QB Patrick Ramsey. As far as the running game goes, the 'Skins still have RB Stephen Davis, one of the better backs in the NFL. The biggest question is: How will Spurrier's offense work at the NFL level?

The Redskins upgraded an already strong defense, adding LBs Jeremiah Trotter and Jesse Armstead to go along with talented young LB Lavar Arrington. This combination gives them, hands down, the most talented linebacking core in the NFL. In the secondary, talented young CBs Champ Bailey and Fred Smoot return, along with 20-year veteran CB Darrell Green. Also added was the mind behind the Ravens' dominant defense, Marvin Lewis. The Redskins defense could be among the NFL's elite this year.

Prospects are good in Washington. Even if Spurrier's Fun 'N Gun offense should falter in the NFL, the defense should keep them in just about any game. If Spurrier's offense comes together, the Redskins could be dominant force in the NFL. The biggest question: Can owner Daniel Snyder stay out of the way let his team succeed?

North

Chicago Bears :
The Bears offense will likely not be one of the dominant ones in the NFL. But, it should be solid. Last year rookie RB Anthony Thomas proved a big part of the Bears' division championship. If he can avoid a sophomore slump, the same may be true this year. Talented WR Marcus Robinson returns this year after missing most of last year. Complementing him is WR Marty Booker, who emerged as a star in Robinson's absence. QB Jim Miller is solid, if not spectacular. He should keep the offense running smoothly enough.

The Bears defense was the best in the NFC last year. It should probably be the same this year. With big bodies like DT Ted Washington clogging the middle, and dominant young LB Brian Urlacher patrolling the middle, the Bears will be hard to score on.

The Bears have a chance for playoff success for the first time since the mid 80's. However, the NFC features some dominant teams, so the road to the Super Bowl will be a difficult one for the Bears.

Detroit Lions :
The biggest problem for the Lions' offense is inexperience. Starting QB Mike McMahon only has only started a few games in his career, coming late in 2001. His backup, and potential replacement this season is rookie QB Joey Harrington. While impressive thus far, Harrington is a rookie and will make mistakes. In the running game, RB James Stewart returns. He had some success last year, but overall was disappointing. He looks to improve this year.

The Lions defense last year wasn't all that good. There were no major additions on this side of the ball, so the outlook for the 2002 defense isn't all that better.

The Lions will probably struggle through a few more bad seasons before their young team matures enough to win.

Green Bay Packers :
QB Brett Favre, one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, looks to lead the Packers back to glory. He may be, however, a bit short on weapons. Last year's receiving core, WRs Antonio Freeman, Corey Bradford, and Bill Schroeder are gone, replaced by moody WR Terry Glenn, and young WRs such as Donald Driver. TE Bubba Franks returns to add some stability to a developing unit. The running game, however, is much more stable, as RB Ahman Green returns.

The Packers' defense was solid last year, and should be the same this year. The Packers feature a strong young secondary, that should further develop this year.

The Packers have a solid team, and a certainly a playoff contender. However, the NFC is rife with strong teams, so punching through may be a difficulty.

Minnesota Vikings :
The Vikings feature a potent offensive combination: the strong, fast, and cannon-armed QB Dante Culpepper, and the incredible but moody WR Randy Moss. This combination should rack up quite a few yards and touchdowns. The running game suffered with the retirement of RB Robert Smith. RB Michael Bennett was not able to fill the hole last year, and will need to this year to provide some balance and clock management to this year's offense.

The Vikings defense was one of the weaker in the NFL last season. This year things don't look to change all that much.

The Vikings are dominant on offense and weak on defense. This combination tends to fail - take the 2000 Rams or 2001 Colts for example. Also, if the running game does not come together this year, defenses can just rear back and go after Culpepper and Moss to slow the Vikings.

South

Atlanta Falcons :
The Falcons' offense features one of the scariest (to defenses) players in the league: QB Michael Vick. With speed, agility, and arm strength to spare, Vick is a dangerous weapon for the Falcons' offense. He is, however, young and inexperienced, his only current drawback. To help him along, the Falcons should have a solid running game. RB Warrick Dunn and rookie RB T.J. Duckett should provide plenty of yards on the ground.

The Falcons have a solid young defense, that should be able to keep them in games.

The Falcons should improve this year, and play in a relatively weak division. They may have a shot at making the playoffs.

Carolina Panthers :
QB Chris Weikne comes into 2002 off a very disappointing 2001 campaign. He will need to improve greatly for the Panthers to put together a respectable passing game. Veteran TE Wesley Walls should make that task somewhat easier, as should talented WR Mushin Muhammad. In the running game, solid RB DeShaun Foster returns.

In addition to a weak offense, the Panthers last year had a weak defense. To address this, DE Julius Peppers was taken with the second overall pick. The defense should improve some this season, it was terrible last year.

It's almost impossible for the Panthers not to improve this season, their 2001 campaign was one of the worst in NFL history.

New Orleans Saints :
The offense lost a solid producer in RB Ricky Williams, who was traded to the Dolphins. Replacing him is RB Duece McCallister. McCallister has a difficult task ahead of him in attempting to replace the yardage which Williams provided. In the passing game, QB Aaron Brooks returns, with an improved physique. Talented WRs Joe Horn, Jake Reed, and Jerome Pathon return to provide offensive punch.

The Saints' defense has developed into one of the NFL's better units in recent years. It slipped a bit last year, after losing a couple of key players. It still remains a solid unit.

The Saints are a solid team in a division full of building teams. They, like most of the NFC South, have a chance at the playoffs this year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers :
The Buccaneers offense has been weak in recent years. To correct this, players like QB Brad Johnson, and WRs Keyshawn Johnson and Jaquez Green, have been brought in over the past couple of years. It didn't work. This year, they changed coaches: John Gruden in, Tony Dungy out, as well as RBs: Warrick Dunn out, Michael Pittman in. Bruising FB Mike Alstott remains, as does a solid offensive line.

The Buccaneers' defense has carried them through recent seasons. The squad has a dominant line featuring DT Warrent Sapp, as solid linebacking core centered around LB Hardy Nickerson, and a talented secondary featuring CB Donnie Abraham and S John Lynch. It should be among the better defenses again this year.

The Buccaneers are a strong team in a weak division. Also, moving to the NFC South spares them from a couple of cold-weather games, which they regularly tank. Only one game on the schedule has prospects for weather below 40 degrees: Week 17 at Chicago.

West

Arizona Cardinals : The Cardinals' offense features a talented throw-catch combination: QB Jake Plummer and WR David Boston. While Boston has become a dominant force, Plummer has struggled. The loss of talented RB Michael Pittman can't help.

The Cardinals' defense has been weak for years, despite several No. 1 picks being thrown at it. Bad drafting has doomed the Cardinals' defense in years past, and the squad will probably remain weak this year as well.

The Cardinals haven't won a division title since 1975, and have only two playoff wins in their history. Don't look for either of those facts to change this year.

St. Louis Rams :
The Rams offense is one of the best in the NFL's history. The squad is loaded with talent, with QB Kurt Warner throwing to WRs Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, and TE Ernie Conwell. RB Marshall Faulk provides an additional target for Warner, as well as plenty of yards on the ground. The Rams offense has been almost impossible to stop since 1999, and that shouldn't change this year.

In addition to a dominant offense, the Rams have a strong defense. Veteran CB Aeneas Williams and young S Adam Archuleta lead a talented secondary. The linebacking core is solid, spearheaded by LB Jamie Duncan. The defensive line is solid as well, featuring players like DE Grant Winstrom and DE Leonard Little.

The Rams were heavy favorites in Super Bowl XXXVI but came out second best. This year, they face more challenges within their own conference, from San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

San Francisco 49ers :
The 49ers' offense experienced a revival last year. QB Jeff Garcia emerged as one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. Providing Garcia a weapon was, and is, the superbly talented WR Terrell Owens. Providing balance to the offense is RB Garrison Hearst, who returned last year after two years of injury to lead the 49ers back to the playoffs. Hearst is a very good runner, and should provide plenty of yardage for this team to complement the strong passing attack.

The 49ers' defense suffered through some lean years, while the young talent developed and came together as a unit. Last year, that process yielded a solid defense. That defense returns, and should only be better this year. A talented young secondary should help them cope with their biggest rival, the Rams.

The 49ers are a young team that has great things ahead of it. The question is, can they push past the Rams and other talented teams in the conference?

Seattle Seahawks The Seahawks offense struggled last year, as young QB Matt Hasselback struggled. This year, QB Trent Dilfer enters as the starter (though he may miss the first game). Dilfer is a solid if not spectacular quarterback who wins games. Providing the running attack is talented young RB Shaun Alexander.

The Seahawks feature a middle-of-the-pack defense, which will be a liability in their division.

The Seahawks are a solid team, but they are no competition for the superbly talented 49ers and Rams.
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Predictions:

East Champion: Philadelphia Eagles
North Champion: Chicago Bears
South Champion: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
West Champion: St. Louis Rams

Wild Card 1: San Francisco 49ers
Wild Card 2: Washington Redskins

NFC Champion: San Francisco 49ers

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pagsz's 2002 NFL Preview, Part One: AFC

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Well, the NFL season kicks off a week from today. I, being a football fan, have decided to dedicate a couple of journal posts to the upcoming season. So here is my preview of the AFC, organized by divison and alphabetically (not by predicted order of finish):
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East

Buffalo Bills :
The Buffalo Bills made a major upgrade to their offense with the addition of QB Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe should bring stability to the position for the first time since Jim Kelly retired. WR Eric Moulds provides a talented target for Bledsoe, and he should aslo be aided by the solid running of RB Travis Henry. The pieces are in place for a solid offense.

The biggest question is can the defense rebound this year? After having a solid defense for years, the Bills defense dropped to 23rd (or thereabouts) in the league last year, in large part to a change in the defensive system.

The East is the toughest division in the conference, so it may be difficult for Bills to make a run at the playoffs.

Sidenote: The Bills changed their uniforms this year. The home jerseys aren't that bad looking, but the away jerseys are screwy looking. Kind of in the Denver Broncos "as ugly as possible" uniform mold.

Miami Dolphins :
The Dolphins' biggest offseason acquisition was that of RB Ricky Williams. Williams should bring to Miami what the Dolphins have not had in decades: a prominent running game. This can only help QB Jay Fiedler to keep the passing game strong.

The Dolphins have had one of the league's best defenses in the past few years. This shouldn't change this year, with DE Jason Taylor, LB Zach Thomas and a talented secondary returning.

The Dolphins seem to have all the pieces in place for a championship run. Their biggest obstacle, however, is not their opponents. It is a month: December. In the past decade, Miami teams have had great first halves only to falter down the stretch. To make a Super Bowl run this year, the Dolphins will have to avoid another December jinx.

New England Patriots :
The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots were active again this offseason, making upgrades to the offense. Added were TEs Cam Cleeland, Christian Fauria, and rookie Daniel Graham. Also added to bolster the passing game were WRs Donald Hayes and (impressive) rookie Deion Branch. These new players, as well as returning WRs Troy Brown and David Patten, should provide plenty of weapons for QB Tom Brady in his first full season as the Patriots quarterback. The running attack should be solid again this year, with RB Antwain Smith carrying the load.

The Patriots' solid defense returns, featuring one of the best secondaries in the NFL. CB Ty Law and S Lawyer Milloy are dominant players, and S Tebucky Jones may become one. Added to the talent is veteran S Victor Green.

The Patriots enter the 2002 season with a team improved from 2001, but face a more difficult schedule. Division opponents have bolstered their rosters, and difficult non-divisional games fill the schedule.

New York Jets :
The Jets offense, as it has for the past few years, revolves around RB Curtis Martin. Martin's consistently strong play makes the Jets an almost automatic playoff contender. If aging QB Vinny Testaverde and young WR Santana Moss can put together good seasons, the Jets may have a strong offense indeed.

The Jets defense lost a lot of talent to salary cap considerations. Last year's starting secondary is virtually gone, with S Victor Green and CB Aaron Glenn no longer around. This being the case, the defense may struggle this year, especially in pass defense.

The Jets play in a strong division featuring solid defenses. If their own defense struggles, it may be up to the offense to overcome the odds.
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North

Baltimore Ravens :
The Ravens enter this year with an offense thinner than last year's disappointing squad. QB Elvis Grbac, after a mediocre season, retired, and TE Shannon Sharpe was lost to salary cap considerations. However, RB Jamal Lewis returns this season, behind a still solid offensive line. A solid running game should help untested QB Chris Redman to adapt to the NFL.

The once mighty Ravens defense, which carried the team to the Super Bowl XXXV win, has been gutted by salary cap problems. Gone are S Rod Woodson, LB Jamie Sharper, DT Tony Siragusa (retirement), and CB Dwayne Starks, along with a couple others. Also gone is the mind behind the defensive dominance, defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis (Redskins). Dominant LB Ray Lewis, along with DE Michael McCrary and LB Peter Boulware return to a defense that will likely slip back into the middle of the pack.

The prospects are not too good for the Ravens this season. They may have to sweat out a couple of bad years, before clearing enough cap room to start rebuilding.

Cincinnati Bengals :
The backbone of the Bengals offense, as it has been for the past few years, is RB Corey Dillon. The passing game is still a question. QB Gus Frerotte has been named the starter, the first time he has assumed the role since 1997 (Redskins). Talented young WR Peter Warrick should help get the passing game off the ground.

Over the past couple of seasons, the Bengals have built a solid defense, with LB Takeo Spikes heading the squad.

The Bengals have been the doormat of the NFL for a decade. While a playoff run may be unlikely this year, the Bengals should at least climb back to respectability.

Cleveland Browns :
Last season, the offense was the weak point for a reborn Cleveland Browns franchise. QB Tim Couch continues to develop, and he has some talent at the wide receiver position. WR Kevin Johnson returns, despite preseason rumors.

Last year's solid defense returns, minus LB Jamir Miller, lost due to a preseason injury. The Browns return with a strong young secondary that should keep the Browns in most games.

If the offense can put together a strong season to augment the Browns' aggressive defense, Cleveland may just have a playoff team again.

Pittsburgh Steelers :
Last year's strong offense returns this year with some question marks. Was last year a fluke for QB Kordell Stewart, or a sign of things to come? How much does RB Jerome Bettis have left? Despite these questions, the offense does have a couple of big advantages: WRs Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle El. Both former college quarterbacks, these players provide plenty of versatility for the Steelers offense.

The Steelers defense is young and talented. Last year, it was among the best in the NFL. It should be the same again this year. Even if the offense should struggle, the dominant defense should keep them in any game.

Last year, the Steelers fell one game short of the Super Bowl. This year, they should make another run at it.
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South

Houston Texans :
As an expansion team, it's a bit difficult to gauge the depth of the offense or defense. However, this team is probably better off than most expansion teams before. They should have a respectable season.

Indianapolis Colts :
The Colts dynamic offense returns for another season. RB Edgerrin James returns after last year's knee injury, and QB Peyton Manning and WR Marvin Harrison are looking to improve on last year's disappointing season.

Last year's Colts defense was dreadful, among the worst in the NFL. This year, new head coach Tony Dungy looks to improve that squad.

The Colts success this year depends on their defense. The stronger the defense is this season, the further the Colts will go. They should be at least strong enough for a playoff run.

Jacksonville Jaguars :
This year, dynamic RB Fred Taylor returns to the offense healthy, and should provide a solid running attack. The passing attack, however, may suffer. Gone is WR Keenan McCardell, and WR Jimmy Smith has yet to work out with the team this year (contract dispute). Without these two targets, QB Mark Brunell may have difficulty finding targets this season. Also, he no longer has dominant OT Tony Boselli up front protecting him.

The Jaguars defense has been middle-of-the-pack over the past few years. The same will probably be true this year.

After getting off to a fast start in the first few years of their existence, the Jaguars have fallen back into the middle of the pack.

Tennessee Titans :
Last year, the Titans offense struggled as RB Eddie George and QB Steve McNair missed time due to injury. This year, both return healthy. The Titans offense looks to be the strongest its been in years.

The solid Titans defense returns. If DEs Kevin Carter and Jevon Kearse can improve on last year's disappointing seasons, the Titans defense could again be among the best in the NFL.

After back to back 13 - 3 seasons and an AFC Championship, the Titans slipped back into the pack in 2001. This year, they should again be among the elite.
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West

Denver Broncos :
The Broncos running game has been in a bit of flux since 1999, when now retired RB Terrell Davis suffered the first of a string of knee injuries. RBs Olandis Gary and Mike Anderson have stepped in to fill the hole, as rookie RB Clinton Portis is likely to to this year. The real question for the Broncos is the passing game. If QB Brian Griese can return to his 2000 form, the Broncos offense will likely thrive. He has good targets in WRs Ed McCaffery (returning from injury) and Rod Smith, and returning TE Shannon Sharpe>. If not, the offense will struggle.

A solid defense returns, without any major additions or losses. It should be a solid unit again this year.

The Broncos have a solid team, and could be primed for a playoff run. Or, they could slip back into mediocrity. We'll have to wait and see.

Kansas City Chiefs :
The NFL's leading rusher from last year, RB Priest Holmes, returns. The strong running game he provides should help QB Trent Green get the offense off the ground.

For the first time in years, the Cheifs defense struggled last year. It is likely to do the same this year.

The Cheifs lack of a strong defense will likely counterbalance their offensive potential. In other words, they'll lose high-scoring games.

Oakland Raiders :
The Raiders' strong offense returns this year, featuring a cast of veterans. The only thing that may slow the offense down is age, as QB Rich Gannon and WRs Jerry Rice and Tim Brown are nearing the end of their careers. However, these are three of the most dedicated players in the NFL, so production shouldn't drop that much.

The Raiders' solid defense returns, minus DT Darrel Russell. Russell will miss the entire 2002 campaign after violating the league's drug policy. However, the addition of S Rod Woodson into a talented secondary can only make things better.

The window for the Raiders closes after this year. They are already $50 million over the 2003 salary cap, so after this season they will have to dump much of their talent. It's now or never for the silver and black.

San Diego Chargers :
The Chargers offense looks to recover last year after struggling last year. RB LaDainian Tomlinson returns, and will likely be featured in (new) head coach Marty Schottenheimer's offense. Second-year QB Drew Brees steps into the starting role, after QB Doug Flutie struggled in the second half of the season.

The Chargers defense has been solid in recent years, and should only get better under the defense-minded Schottenheimer.

The Chargers can only get better this year, after going 1 - 11 to end the season in 2001.
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Predictions:

East Champion: Miami Dolphins
North Champion: Pittsburgh Steelers
South Champion: Tennessee Titans
West Champion: Oakland Raiders

Wild Card 1: New England Patriots
Wild Card 2: Indianapolis Colts

AFC Champion: Miami Dolphins

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Ramblings of an Idiot (25th Installment)

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Slashdot - 3:07 PM (EDT), August 27, 2002: A moron going by the nickname of pagsz sat down to create yet another Ramblings of an Idiot post. Many Slashdot readers immediately cringed, realizing yet more stupidity was about to be dumped onto the server. Despite several attempts to get this "pagsz" to stop, or to convince pagsz to think before he posts, the stupidity continues. May God have mercy on us all (or at least on the server) . . .

  1. Mozilla: Today I downloaded (fun at 31.2 K) and installed Mozilla 1.1.

    With Mozilla 1.1 Beta, the odds of a crash seemed to increase with each tab that I opened. Hopefully, with 1.1, this will no longer be the case.

  2. Politics: Saw this interesting article on ABCNEWS.com: Congress: Bush Needs Our OK on Iraq.

    My first reaction to this was, "Well, duh!" See, I've actually read the Constitution.

    The Congress shall have Power . . .

    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
    (Article I, Section 8)

    Then I remembered, the last time the United States declared war was way back in 1941!
    ___________________

    An interesting quote from the article:

    Under the Vietnam-era War Powers Act, the president is required to get congressional approval for introducing U.S. forces into hostilities for more than 60 days. Presidents of both parties have considered the act unconstitutional and ignored it.

    Ah, but one more quote:

    The Congress shall have Power . . .
    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
    (Article I, Section 8)

    So, if the Congress has the power to make rules about how the military is regulated, how is the War Powers act unconstitutional? And would the courts have the balls to strike down W. should he go without Congressional approval? (In 1991, Bush 41 got a resolution from Congress authorizing the use of force, as did Bush 43 in regards to Afghanistan).

  3. SatireWire: Can it be? SatireWire will no longer be updated. I just started reading it a month ago, and now there'll be nothing new? Aw, man . . .

    Oh, well, I'll just read an old article once a week and pretend its new. If I don't pay any attention to world events, I can even pretend its about the topic of the day!

  4. Betamax: Sony has decided to discontinue Betamax. What, you're telling me they were still making them? All this time? And nobody told me?

Slashdot - 5:25 PM (EDT), August 27, 2002: The moron pagsz has decided to end his post, bringing relief to thousands of Slashdotters. For now, the Slashdot server is safe from reaching the "critical mass of stupidity." With every idiotic post by pagsz, the server inches closer to this dreaded level. Now that pagsz has stopped, Slashdot is safe for today. As for how long until the "critical mass of stupidity" is reached, no one can say. And no one can be sure of the effects. Slashdot could implode in a flood of trolls, flames, and goatse.cx links. All anyone can be sure of is that, when it happens, it will be bad.

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Ramblings of an Idiot (24th Installment)

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Well, here I am on a Saturday morning in late August. I just finishing watching last night's episodes of Stargate [SG - 1] and Farscape. Now I have noting better to do than post yet another Ramblings of an Idiot to my Slashdot journal. Maybe I should have stayed in bed a little longer this morning.

  1. Winamp: I downloaded Winamp 3 the other day, but I found I didn't like it quite as much as Winamp 2 (I have 2.80). It's not all that much different, really, but I'm more comfortable with what I've got. So, in short, I'm sticking with 2. Why am I telling y'all this? Boredom, pure and simple.
  2. Baseball: I'm starting to care less and less if Major League Baseball goes on strike. For one, I'm doubtful about the Red Sox's chances to make the playoffs. They're still six games back of the Yanks in the East (and probably don't have much chance of catching them), and two and a half games behind Seattle in the Wild Card. They're still in it, but they'll probably have to go on a tear if they are going to make it; and unfortunately, you don't see the phrases "Red Sox winning streak" and "stretch run" in the same sentence very often. Maybe once or twice every quarter-century.

    That, and the NFL season begins only five days after the strike date. Who cares if there's no World Series this year? Just more time for football.

    ___________

    That, and I'm beginning to think that baseball may in a way need the strike. Baseball is just plain frelled up right now. The New York Yankees currently have a payroll of around 171 million dollars (with obligatory Dr. Evil pinky to mouth). For forty players. That's an average of four million per player, double the league average. It's also about triple what the Minnesota Twins are spending (in the 60 million dollar range). Never mind teams like the Marlins, Devil Rays, or Royals. These teams are operating with payrolls under 30 million. Bit of a difference.

    Then there's Alex Rodriguez's 10-year, 252 million dollar contract. Think about this for a minute: The Boston Red Sox were sold this spring for approximately $700 million. That includes the franchise, the stadium (venerable Fenway in downtown Boston), and a cable network, NESN. One frellin' player is getting a third of that to play 10 years of ball. Now consider the Rangers. I don't know their value, but it ain't no $700 million. The Rangers have no history (as the Sox do), and don't own a cable network of their own. Let's assume their worth at around $500 million (which to be honest, is probably too high). Half that is invested in one frellin' guy.

    One more point. If I'm not mistaken, the NFL salary cap is in the 70 million dollar range this year. That means the Yankees' payroll is more than double what an NFL team can spend. For ten less players. And an NFL team has 22 starters, as opposed to 15 in baseball (8 position players, 5 pitchers, and a DH in the AL). The closer brings it to 16.

    ___________

    Unfortunately, a strike may be the only way this frelled up system gets fixed. Baseball may have to destroy the city to save the village, as it were.

  3. SatireWire: I've fallen in love with SatireWire. Absolutely love it. Check it every day now.
  4. Work: After two days off, I have to go back to work today. I don't wanna go! Please don't make me! For the love of God don't make me go!

    ___________

    It was nice having back to back days off after the way August has gone. Dealing with the unbearably hot weather, and the lazy asshole who works the shift before me. When I come in after him (at least twice a week), I have to work ten times as hard to catch up because he wasn't doing his job. Last Tuesday, he up and quit. So Tuesday and Wednesday there was no one working the morning. And there wasn't one lick of difference between him working and not. Thank God he's gone, though. Maybe now they'll bring someone in who will do the frellin' job.

  5. Football: The Patriots played their third preseason game last night, defeating the Panthers 23 - 3. Though it was a game that means nothing, it was encouraging to see the starting offense click for the first time this preseason (scoring 14 quick points in the third quarter). I can't wait until the season starts.

    ___________

    It will be such a different feeling this season, being defending Super Bowl champions. Everybody gunning for you. It's certainly going to be different.

  6. Forgetfulness: While I've been wasting the past hour and a half writing up this post, I forgot that I was supposed to copy a couple of CDs this morning (Oh my God, what if the RIAA finds out! Ah, FUCK THEM!). Might as well get started . . .

Well, that's enough for this waste of time. I've spent almost two hours doing this, so I think I shall get going. Besides, I have to eat lunch and get ready to go into work.

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Ramblings of an Idiot (23rd Installment)

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Welcome back to the wonderfully wild and wacky world of Ramblings of an Idiot.

Well, it's been a fortnight since the last RoaI post, and during that time I've built up absolutely nothing of consequence to record. However, I've got a journal and some time to kill . . .

  1. Major League Baseball: Well, it's official. The MLBPA (Player's Association) has set a strike date of August 30. If the two sides can't come together before them, the strike will begin.

    I'm pretty pessimistic about the possibility of avoiding a strike. From what I've heard, the two sides are still pretty far apart, and aren't even talking today. With only two weeks left in which to strike a bargain, I honestly don't see anything getting done.

    Nor do I see it being a short strike. The differences on the luxury tax and revenue sharing proposals are just too great. I don't see there being a 2002 World Series.

  2. Summer: Is it just me, or has this been an annoyingly warm summer? It seems like every day in July and August was either hot, humid, or both. Plus it hasn't rained all that much. Not to mention the fact that my job has me working outside all day . I can't wait until this goddamn summer ends.

I was going to continue with the post, but the my computer is in a room that quite unfortunately lacks air conditioning. It's getting a tad too warm to stay here and type. Good-bye.

Update: 10:07 AM -- Saturday August 17 2002

A couple of the things I was going to mention yesterday, if it were not for the annoying temperature:

  1. Me: I think I've been watching a bit too much Farscape lately, because I've been using the word frell on a regular basis. Soon, all of my co-workers are going to think that I'm nuts. Or, more accurately, realize that I'm nuts.
  2. Baseball: Well, it's August, and the Red Sox seem to be slipping back into mediocrity. The've fallen to seven games back of the Yankees in the AL East race, and three and a half back of the Angels in the Wild Card. Maybe a strike won't be that bad a thing after all. It may be the only thing preventing the frelling Yankees from winning their frelling 27th World Series. Frell.
  3. Wasting Time: For no reason at all, I'm going back over my old posts and replacing the dumb quotes (" ") with smart quotes (" "). If it hadn't been for the Smart Quotes? Poll, I never would have thought of it. Damn you!

    Then again, I shouldn't blame that poll for how lame I am. Oh, well, at least it gave me a reason (however thin) to look over my old posts.

Well, I'm starting to feel the sweat beading on my forehead again. It's only ten o'clock in the damned morning, but it's already getting warm. So, I shall no longer be wasting time in this fashion. That's no biggie, because I'm of garbage to type. See you whenever.

________________________________

When I tried to save this post, I got this message:

You can only post 15 posts per 4 hours

Apparently, with changing all of those stupid quotes, I posted too much stuff. Oh, well, I'll just save the updates to this post as a text file and save them when I next get the chance (I won't be here when I'm next eligible to post, somewhere around 2:00. I'll be at work. Shudder). At the same time, I'll get a little further in Lame-Ass Project #305: Quote Conversion. Untill next time . . .

Saved: 09:57 AM -- Tuesday August 20 2002

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Ramblings of an Idiot (22nd Installment)

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago It's that time again. Time for me to make a complete ass of myself in this irregularly-timed, randomly-topiced (is topiced a word?), complete waste of time. Hope you enjoy the show!

  1. Ramblings of an Idiot: When I first conceived this series, I intended it as a sounding board for my thoughts and ideas. It was to be a more philosophical, esoteric, or, at the very least, political thing. Instead, it has devolved into the mundane, dealing mostly with the story of the day, whether that be a political, scientific, technological, or sports one. With this post, I hope to get somewhat back to that original intention. Rather than recording my reactions to specific events, I will record my thoughts here on some broader topics and trends

    This is not so say that the specific has no place in the Ramblings of an Idiot series. It certainly is useful to record my thoughts and reactions to the important news of the day (whatever I feel that to be), and this will always be a part of the series.

    However, the minutia which I have been reporting are not what I really intended this series for. They do not create much of a discussion (although admittedly, this was never my intention with the series), nor does it adequately record my state of mind for posterity.

  2. The Philosophical Pretzel: Last night, I got into a bit of a political discussion with me father (the baseball game we were watching [Red Sox at Rangers] was over by the third inning). One of the things that came up was the odd twisting of political philosophy.

    It all started with a mention of a certain talk show host as a "Civil Libertarian." I thought of something I saw, I believe in a Slashdot journal, outlining the differences between Civil Libertarians and Republicans. For on the surface, their philosophy is much the same. Both believe in minimal government and, therefore, minimal government oversight. Small government, with a small budget, interfering little.

    However, here Republican philosophy seems to become twisted into a pretzel. The philosophy of "small government" seems to be most in line with the idea of civil liberties, doesn't it? A small government with minimal powers hath neither the power nor the ability to interfere in the affairs of ordinary Americans. However, most of the opponents of wider "civil liberties" are on the Republican side. I don't know if it's just me, but I find that odd.

    Second, Republicans are more apt to take an "original intent" angle to the Constitution; reading directly from the language itself. This plays into the civil liberties point, because the tighter reading of the Constitution leads to lessened civil liberties. Why? Because a tighter reading less restricts the government's actions. It's the "if it's not specifically banned, it's allowed" angle. Perhaps this explains to some degree the apparent philosophical twisting when it comes to civil liberties.

    However, it becomes more twisted when it comes to a particular section of the Constitution: the Second Amendment. Looking at the language of the Second Amendment, it seems to be a qualified statement (A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed). This is the seeming hole in "original intent" theory. For although it would seem that the original intent was to have armed militias, and not necessarily insure that private citizens have the right to own guns.

    Also, there seems to be a disjunction between philosophy and action. Especially with regards to the current administration. Despite the philosophy of smaller government, many of the Republican issues have been ones that have expanded government. For example, the creation of a new department (Homeland Security) is certainly an addition to governmental bureaucracy. The faith-based initiatives program and school vouchers program would do the same (these programs carry with them the need for bureaucratic oversight, hence more bureaucrats running more departments and more bureaucrats watching those bureaucrats).

    ______________________________

    Now, to the Democrats. Because I'm lazy, I'm not actually going to list it out for the Democratic side. Just take everything I said about the Republicans and stick it in a mirror. You get the same philosophical pretzel, just the other end of it.

  3. A Step to the Right: It seems to me that in the last few years the American political landscape has taken a few steps to the right. "Liberal" and "Conservative" have taken on different tones. In today's political landscape, it seems to me, "liberal" connotates some California wacko trying to ban dodgeball, or have "Under God" taken out of the pledge; someone way out on the left. "Conservative" has a more moderate connotation; it seems to me that conservatives are perceived as center-right. To get to the far right, you need a new term, hence the "neo-cons."

    Look at the current administration, where many fall into the "neo-con" category. The current battle lines in the administration are not between liberal and conservative, but between conservative and really conservative.

    This shift started with Clinton. Clinton separated himself (and the majority of the Democratic party) from the hardcore "liberals," the ones that were a bit too far on the left. He took the Democratic party more toward the center. The Republican Party, in response, has shifted a bit more to the right.

  4. Me and My Writing: You know what sucks? I do some of my best writing when I have nothing to write on. Sometimes I'll be driving in my car, or at work, or something along those lines, and will start thinking about some random topic. Before I know it, I've written out an essay in my head. It sounds so good as I think it. It's eloquent, well spoken, and clever. The next day, when I get a chance to actually record it, it's gone. All that's left is a pale imitation of what I had intended to write. It never seems right. The argument doesn't seem quite as clear; I just can't pull it together the way I had before.

    This not only happened with these worthless Ramblings of an Idiot posts, it also sometimes happened with schoolwork. I would occasionally write out an entire essay in the shower, only to hand in a pale imitation of what was written with my fingertip on the shower door. Oh, well.

  5. Iraq: While watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart yesterday, I saw a story about war plans being leaked to the press. It got me to thinking a little about Iraq.

    It seems almost inevitable now that an invasion will be launched against Iraq. The main point of contention so far center around whether or not it is necessary, i.e., whether or not Iraq currently has a biological or chemical arsenal that poses a threat to the United States. One thing no one seems to argue, although it is absolutely true, is that Iraq is a sovereign nation. They have as much right to develop chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons as the US does. Does this mean I want to see Saddam with such weapons? Hell no. But who are we to say what a sovereign nation can and cannot do?

    I love one of the phrases that's been used to describe this future operation: "Regime Change." I thought that a part of democratic principle is that a nation has the right to choose its own leaders? We may not like Iraq's government, but that doesn't give us the right to intervene and overthrow it.

    Another point that is not often mentioned: We look to attack Iraq to prevent biological and chemical weapons from being used against American citizens. However, the US government barely even recognizes the fact that American citizens have already been exposed to some of Saddam's chemical weapons. It happened about eleven years ago, during something called the Persian Gulf War. Ever heard of Gulf War Syndrome? These veterans are still being virtually ignored by the federal government. Now they want to send 250,000 more soldiers into Iraq, to face those same chemical weapons, and themselves be turned away for two decades.

That will be enough Rambling for today. I've gotten what I wanted to say off my chest. See you later.

Update: 01:38 PM -- Friday August 02 2002

Added #5: Iraq

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Ramblings of an Idiot (21st Installment)

pagsz pagsz writes  |  more than 12 years ago Well, it would seem that the Ramblings of an Idiot series has reached the age of twenty-one. It is now old enough to legally drink. But, if you've been reading any of the RoaI series, you'd know that it's been fall-down drunk since it was one.

  1. Ogg Vorbis (Old, July 19): So, Ogg Vorbis has reached 1.0. I've gotta admit that's pretty cool. Congratulations to all those who worked hard to make it a reality.

    I've considered over the past few days (since Ogg Vorbis went 1.0 on Friday) whether or not to switch over to Ogg. My CD player (RioVolt SP90) recognizes MP3 and WMA files, but not Ogg. I wasn't sure if I should start re-ripping all my CDs to Ogg, knowing that the resulting files would be unplayable on my CD player. What I ultimately decided was to re-rip everything to Ogg after saving all the old MP3s to CD, that way I'll still have them available for the player. I haven't ripped any CDs in a while (I haven't bought music in a long time), so I shouldn't have to worry too much about ripping CDs twice (once for the PC and once for the CD player).

  2. Slashdot (Old, July 19): While the fried-fan/foe-freak thing has been in place for a little while now, I must admit I hadn't been paying much attention to it. While I was reading through the FAQ today (see my update to Karma System Change), I clicked through on this link: http://slashdot.org/my/fans (will show your fans, not mine). I noticed that two people had marked me down as a friend. Who knew? Thankfully, no foes yet.
  3. Mozilla: As I am writing up this waste of time of a post, Mozilla 1.1 Beta is downloading. Still got about an hour to go on the download (torture, thy name is dial-up).

    Switching from IE to Mozilla has been great. I haven't seen a pop-up window in ages. I love tabbed browsing. And so far, Mozilla has proved to be more stable than IE 6 was. With IE 6, I experienced regular crashes. Mozilla hasn't crashed on me in over two months (RC2, when attempting to open a PDF file).

Well, that's enough stupidity for today. I've got a little bit of "work" to do, what with saving all my MP3s to CD and then re-ripping the original CDs to Ogg.

Update: 09:47 AM -- Wednesday July 24 2002

#1: That is, all the CDs I can find. A lot of the MP3s on my computer are from my brother's CD collection. He doesn't keep good track of them. And a few of them are scratched to hell. Whatever I can re-rip to Ogg, I shall.

Also trying to figure out the best Quality setting to use. I want the files to be of comparable size to the old MP3s, and of course smaller is better. I think I may end up using something in the 5.0 - 5.5 range.

#3: Mozilla 1.1 Beta installed and running smoothly. Only one minor complaint: the swapping of Open Link in New Window and Open Link in New Tab. I keep opening new windows when I want tabs. Oh, well, I'll just have to get used to it. Or get used to middle-clicking. Otherwise no problems.

Update: 09:24 AM -- Thursday July 25 2002

Corrected the date for the first update, Wednesday was the 24th, not the 23rd. I gotta pay more attention (at least I spelled Wednesday right, I often have it as Wednessday). While I'm here . . .

#1: Project Burn MP3 CD has been completed, resulting in six CDs worth of MP3s. I left some off, the ones I don't really like all that much in the first place. Oh crap! I just realized I missed some files that I wanted. Oh, well, I'll just have to burn one more CD. Then Project Burn MP3 CD will be complete . . .
________________________________________

I've settled on a Quality setting of 5.25. It results in files of comparable size to the old MP3s (but up to a MB smaller).
________________________________________

One more note: I re-ripped Jimi Hendrix's first album, Are You Experienced?, and the resulting files are much cleaner than the old MP3s. The distortion is gone; they sound so much better. Thank you, Ogg!

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