26 April, 2007

At least it wasn't securely shredded


Know what sucks? When you spend a few days getting all your old files archived correctly, all cleaned up and the like on your external drive, and then you delete them all. As in everything. Wiped clean.

Then you spend money on a data recovery program (FileSalvage) which is supposed to be the best for Macs, you let it run for three straight hours and see all the files that you lost back again, then the program "quits unexpectedly" before you can recover them. Then you spend three more hours scanning and it happens again.

That's pretty frustrating, especially seeing the files and knowing that they're still there.

I hope tat tech support :shudder:: is able to fix this program glitch, or else I'm going to be really pissed. Five and a half seasons of 24 and years worth of pictures kind of pissed.

24 April, 2007

Sickness kind of sucks

"Excuse me!"

"Yes?"

"Did somebody tow my car?"

"Well, there was a car being towed out front a few minutes..."

"FUCK"

"...ago. It was the one in front of the fire hydrant"

Friday nights can be real slow at the shop.

Things have been real slow lately in general. This Sunday night I caught one of those horrid 24-hour stomach bugs that absolutely lays you out. I started feeling kind of ill on Saturday, on account of helping my mom's fiance dis-assemble his basement woodshop and the large amount of sawdust I inhaled/swallowed. Then on Sunday there was more sawdust, and dinner at my dads. I've settled on the steamed potatoes and hot dogs with vinegar as the ultimate culprit. It was probably the second serving that put me over the edge.

When I got home Sunday night I 'got sick' in a horrific manner, and passed out. I was 'sick' again early Monday morning, and had to go to work at 8. That was a fun day. My back hurt so much I couldn't sit down (on account of the throwing up and clenching muscles and the like). So yeah, got home from work and laid around on the floor, then in bed.

Gwen came home with all sorts of holistic healing things. Like chicken soup, orange juice, ginger ale, and a heating pad. And Aleve. It was pretty great, and by midnight I felt like fantastic. Or at least well enough to take out the trash and wake Gwen from the couch to go to bed.

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I'll be heading to Rhode Island on May 6 (that's a Sunday), and starting work on the 7th. Something different than I've done in the past, as this year I'll have more of a time-regulated job, and I can come home to Philly on the weekends if I want to on occasion (and I do).

I'm only taking one uniform, and I don't plan on wearing it ever. I do need to get some work boots though, as leather bowling shoes really won't cut it this summer.

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Does anyone know a good open source alternative to Quark, Pagemaker, Acrobat or InDesign? I'm in the market.

Cake has a new album out on May 8. Get excited, it's the first in a long while.

Jason Schwartzman just put out an album. I need it like, an hour ago if not sooner.

After a personal tragedy, Dave Lozo is back blogging with a vengeance. One of the better blogs on the internet for sure.

All he needs is a remote and a can of beer. Then this picture will be perfect.

20 April, 2007

Morrissey would have had something to sing about for this album, that's for sure

While I seem to always have things to say about the off-kilter or otherwise strange folks that frequent the cafe, I haven't really said that much about the nicer regulars who come in and make my day that much more pleasant.

To start off there's Troy, the owner of the hardware store directly next to the cafe. He always comes in and gets a large coffee and a small coffee for whoever is working with him that day, and always pays with a five. He always leaves a tip too. We had an awkward moment once where I think he thought I wanted to shake his hand, which was not the case. He kind of held his hand out for a few seconds then pulled it back awkwardly. We've been down ever since.

There's Spike, who is a college professor in something smart-related such as math. He always comes in and orders a double espresso, adds nothing to it, and downs the thing in under a minute. I thought he was homeless the first time he came in, but I suppose he's just eccentric. Interesting guy to talk to when he comes in during a slow time.

There are the two Europeans who Gwen reports walked into Jefferson the other day. They always order a double espresso for the shorter one and a double espresso macchiato for the taller. They never tip but are always very polite.

There are the two competitive gay guys who come in and play chess on occasion, who always seem to have arrived from some other sporting event. They never order the same thing and argue playfully the entire time they're in the shop.

Of course there are a slew of students who come in fairly often and are really unremarkable in their mannerisms or eccentricities. Mostly Jefferson students who sink into a deep furrow-browed study session moments after sitting down.

And of course there are the innocuous nut jobs who are here all the time who don't really bother me but seem fairly off their gourd.

My favorite of these is the guy who comes in to work on some audio program who wears these enormous headphones the entire time and practically brings a desktop setup with him. He only ever orders a coffee, and never really drinks it. And then there's the fact that if he's here for three hours, he will use the bathroom no less than six times, and he always announces to me that he's using the bathroom, and would that be okay. At this rate he's used it ten-fold more times than I have since I've worked here.

He tried to bribe me the other day by saying he'd just come from dinner and wasn't hungry and didn't want coffee, but if he left me a tip could he use the internet for a while? I was like 'umm, I guess so, but how about buying a water or something?' He did, and left it unopened on the table when he left.

The most recent of the odd birds is a girl who, if she were a horror movie, would be titled 'It Came From the Mid-West.' She's very friendly, but never wants to buy anything. She purchased an iced latte on Wednesday afternoon while I was working and came back in yesterday (Thursday) evening... and she brought the latte back with her.

'I just put it in the fridge, I couldn't finish it all yesterday' she explained. All I could do was shake my head and laugh. It's not like she didn't buy something, and I didn't really feel like imposing a statute of limitations on her latte.

And an update on the crazy woman: she found herself a lawyer, apparently. For something. She came in just to tell me. I don't know whether to feel horrified or honored. Probably the former.

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In out of the coffee shop news, the COPE weekends I had been planning with Matt since September fell through due to a complete lack of effort on the part of the Cradle of Liberty Council. We handed them everything they needed to get the word out to troops in November, and spent more than a few late nights planning these weekends, and they didn't contact troops in any capacity.

I found this out from Matt about a week and a half ago, and I was pissed. He talked to the secretary of one of the council employees who dropped the ball, and she called every troop that was planning to be at Ressica (the reservation where the weekends were supposed to take place) and see if there was any interest. There were a few kids who said they'd like to do it, but not enough to make the weekend both fulfilling for them and successful for us.

More than anything I'm angry about the complete lack of effort on the part of the council. Matt and I, and later Tarim and Drew, put in a lot of work for these weekends, and had a complete plan laid out and ready to be implemented. The the blame for the fact that there are no COPE weekends for the council this year rests solely on two members of the council staff. Two members of the staff with whom Matt and I met months ago and handed them everything they'd need.

This is why people say scouts are a dying organization, because there is a lack of communication at every step of the way, and a lack of effort resulting in a lack of program and therefore revenue, leading to more of the same.

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Watching this video the other day, I found myself not disgusted or intrigued, but curious. Not curious about the process or anything having to do with the piercing, but curious as to what sort of carabiner and suspension system was being used. I kept thinking 'stop showing her back, show the suspension system.' Odd.

Obviously it's been busy lately, which accounts for the distinct lack of updates. Apologies to my dad and Seth, the two people who I know this.

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Separated at Birth: Jorge Posada and Fievel

17 April, 2007

If your kids have wheels in the shoes, you are wrong

Heelies have to be the worst invention of the past few years, in terms of a useful/annoying ratio breakdown. If you don't know those are the shoes with the wheels in the heels that kids are rocking these days.

If I were 10, I would probably want a pair of these. I'm sure that the kids who are rocking these are the cool kids in school, and seriously what better feeling is there than being the hippest fifth grader on the playground?

However I'm not 10, I'm 22 and therefore find these shoes not only ridiculous looking, but utterly intolerable when I'm in public. As some sort of hybrid between tennis shoe and roller skate, they fly under the radar as far as regulations prohibiting their wear go. One wouldn't wear roller skates in a department store, nor should parents allow their children to do so; why then are they allowed to wear these 'shoes' that serve the exact same purpose only in a less efficient manner?

Perhaps I'm off base, but I think it sends a bad message about what should and should not be done in public places. When kids are gliding through the airport or the mall on these things, it's fairly inconsiderate, what with the zipping in front of people and generally forcing everyone else to watch out for their speedy shoes.

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The annoying lady with the cell phone and the yelling was in again yesterday for the majority of the afternoon. This time something 'needed to be filed by 5' somewhere on South St. and she was rushing to finish whatever 'it' was.

She comes in plops down and doesn't even bother to buy anything. I was about to say something to her because she was using the free wireless, but as I was about to walk over she began to scream; I don't mean scream like yell a little bit, I mean shrieking a-la a Scottish banshee.

"I don't even know where this is! There's no freaking address" she yelled as she tossed papers on the floor.

"This is unbelievable. Shitshitshit."

I made eye contact with the girl sitting behind this woman, and she kind of shrugged and laughed at the same time. Then the woman started banging on her keyboard. Actually banging, not like tapping. I'm not sure if it was a primitive form of typing but it didn't appear too productive. Then moments later she said the following to nobody in particular:

"This is bullshit. How can my delete key not work? This is a brand new machine. This is unbelievable. Shit. Unbelievable."

She continued on something of a cycle in this manner for about two hours, and just as Pat was coming in to pick up the evening shift she was heading out.

"Sorry, I forgot to buy a coffee. I've just been a bit busy" she confessed to me.

I literally had no words with which to properly reply, so I just said nothing and hoped she'd just go away. She probably came back toward me three separate times after saying goodbye to 'mention something else' or 'tell me something about those unbelievable so and so's.'

Next time she comes in I'm going down to the basement and staying there.

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If you've never checked out the fantastic sex ads in the back of the Citypaper, it's probably a good idea to do that. Now. Seriously. They're part of history, it's okay.

My favorite this past week was an ad for T.S. Naomi. It's on the bottom left on pg. 110.

The picture is a pig-tailed girl with her breasts out and nipples starred, holding a teddy bear over her crotch. There is a star saying "I'm back!" and apparently she is available 24/7 in all Northeast locations. The best is the test of the ad, however. In simple lettering, the ad states:

"Jumps like rabbits from hole to hole!!! How deep R U?"

What the hell does that even mean? Baffling and yet, I want to call and find out.

In this blog I will not talk about why Don Imus should not have been fired. I will say that this video does wonders for breaking down stereotypes. I will also not say anything about Kurt Vonnegut. There's just so much there already.

10 April, 2007

Bitter doesn't even begin to describe...

How in the hell do I owe the IRS money? $32, to be exact. Freaking highway robbery. I make about nothing and Turbo Tax tells me I owe money? Seriously, I live below the poverty line at the moment, and yet I owe someone money?

Yeah yeah, I did some freelance work this past year, on about $1,600 worth, which was untaxed. Again, even without those wages being taxed, I made less last year than what is considered to be the minimum for survival ($13,690 according to this website). But I also was in school and am paying out the ass for student loans which I can't claim because I was a dependent on another form (my moms.) Lovely.

My favorite question in the whole Turbo Tax process was "would you like to contribute $3 to the presidential campaign fund?"

Fuck no. I'm not giving another cent to anyone. If you haven't already noticed, some dumb broad who moved to NY to play politician already grossed $26 million. Nobody's getting my money.

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On an unrelated note, I heard Bjork's new song "Earth Intruders" on XPN a few days ago. It sounds like something Gwen Stefani would write if she went on a three-day mescaline binge at Bonaroo.

That is to say, it sounds better than anything Gwen Stefani could come up with on her own. Bjork is consistently brilliant in her works, and this song is no different. Her Sci-Fi beats listen like some sort of futuristic marching cadence, and mixes well with her vocal style, which swings from sweet to an abrasive grumble in moments. It sounds similar to the first few tracks on Medulla, only a bit more beat intensive. Very active song.

If you haven't noticed, Willy Taveras of the Rockies is the fastest player in baseball. Try to dispute that. Gary Sheffield is single-handedly killing my fantasy team but I keep playing him over Alex Rios for two reasons: a. I keep forgetting to switch my roster in time and b. because I know Sheff will hit this season, it's just a matter of when. I don't want him on my bench when he decides to have a monster game. However, I don't like seeing 0/whatever next to his name every single day. Josh Beckett on the other hand has been all that I hoped he would be. Can't ask for much more than a 7 inning effort with only two hits, 1 ER, 0 BB and 8 K's.

07 April, 2007

Gypsy lady you odd bird you

Gypsy folk freak me out. Not just because of their transient lifestyle, but also because of their odd persona's and innate disability to communicate to those of us who are not of the gypsy class. Even more so, people who seem like they should be gypsy folk but who I can't quite tell also freak me out. That said, Friday night was a dandy in terms of normal/odd customer ratio. Let me preface this by saying it's a holiday weekend and a Friday night, so things were going to be slow. Slow and, of course, interesting.

Now back to Gypsies. About halfway through my evening a woman walks in with a black head wrap and these odd sandals I've never seen before. She was wrapped in a large knit blanket, the kind log cabin homemakers throw over their couches and never think about again. She swayed back and forth slowly and had those large round eyes that either convey absolute mental vacancy or a deep thoughtfulness. Hers surely displayed the former.

After consulting the menu for a minute, she wanted to know if we had internet access. I replied that yes, you could get on the internet for free with a laptop, and that we also have a computer to use for $0.25 a minute. She seemed put off that it's $0.25 a minute, but that's not my price to decide so whatever.

She kind of swayed a bit, stared out the back door, then at the menu, all without saying anything and then asked how late I was open as if she didn't care in the least. She probably didn't, but whatever.

"Ten," I replied. "I'll be here until ten. Can I get you anything?"

She eyed the bananas and then asked if I could give her change to make a phone call. At this point I realized she wasn't going to be spending any money here. I'm not sure she even had a wallet in which to keep money what with that giant shawl of hers. I didn't really want her hanging around anymore since she was starting to creep me out, so I gave her change for a five.

As I was opening the register, she stepped around the counter, moving directly next to me and blocking my exit from behind the counter. This made me feel decidedly awkward, but I figured if she was intent on robbing the joint so long as she didn't pull a gun I could take her. I pulled out the change.

When handing her the change, she stretched out the bills between her fingers like a little hammock and held them out for the quarters, instead of her hand. I didn't get what she was doing at first so I held the change outward in my hand. She looked up at me and back at the dollars, which the then motioned toward me. I figured okay, she's just a little off, so I put the change in the dollar bill hammock.

She asked if I knew where there was 'good lodging' in the area for 'someone like me', and I replied that I did not. What the hell is that supposed to mean, anyway? She looked like a leper, but a bit too healthy and still posesing all her limbs. At this point I really wanted her to leave, as she was making me very uncomfortable. Clearly she wasn't going to buy anything, just ask me questions and sway back and forth.

So she made toward the door, but didn't quite make it. She plopped down in one of the chairs next to the front window and started chatting with a girl in the adjacent chair. The girl told her something about how Catholic churches are always open and you can sleep on the pews; I couldn't really tell when she said.

Anyway the woman leaves the shop, wrapping herself in her gypsy blanket to avoid the cold.

Not a minute later she returned. She timidly stepped to the counter again and asked if I might supply her with more change, this time for a dollar. I looked in the register and there were two rolls of quarters, so I figured why not if it will get her to go away.

So I put out my hand for the dollar and she jumps back. I left my hand there, but she put the dollar on the counter next to me.

So she sets down the dollar, I pick it up. I open the register and take out four quarters, deposit the dollar, and close the register. Then I hold out the change to drop in her hand. She jumps back about two feet. I hold my hand out further. What the fuck is wrong with this woman, I think. She's a bit of a freak, it seems.

She nods at the counter. I give her a quizzical look.

"The counter," she says.

The Counter? Okay...

"I'll just take it off the counter," she says.

Nut job

I sit the change on the counter and she eagerly retrieves it, making sure to count it. Yeah, all four quarter were there. No problem.

Then she asks me where the nearest pay phone is. Please go away I'm thinking. Please oh please go away you're seriously off.

"I don't know. Try Market Street," I say.

But that's where I came from... she trails off. She sways a bit more. She eyes the bananas, then the menu for a third time. Still vacant, she leaves the shop.

Let me tell you something. There is never a lack of interesting customers, even when there are barely any customers. Something always seems to make my evening when I'm working at the coffee shop. I guess that's what happens when you work in the middle of a major city right off of a large arterial street.

06 April, 2007

O and 3 ain't that good


I'd say it's a good night for the Orioles first win of the season. 7 years later and I'm still pissed about Mussina leaving the O's (the picture is from '05).

03 April, 2007

Still can't do 'latte art.' Don't care

This may come as a shock to some of you who have known me for a while, but hear me out. I have to come clean about something. I ... don't drink as much coffee as I used to. Not even close.

I remember the days of college, downing whole pots of coffee in the course of a day simply to be lucid enough to play MVP until the sun came up. Ostensibly the coffee was so I could stay up and do homework, but you know how college can be. Then I graduated.

Of course after graduation I went straight to camp, where two things coincided that increased my caffeine intake. I had round the clock access to fresh coffee and I had a job with a lot of stress. Not a good thing. I would drink coffee with every meal and could barely maintain a conversation in the morning until at least after my second cup.

Then in the fall I started working at Penn, where I rather disliked my job. There was a Bucks County Coffee across the street and so I would go in there several times a day and get my travel mug refilled for something like $0.90. At every break in the day, that's pretty much where I could be found. Since I couldn't make coffee in the office, I had to take advantages of the breaks in the day, not knowing when the next opportunity might present itself.

Logically I would increase my caffeine intake even more working at a coffee shop, right? Makes sense. It's not the case though, and I think I figured out why.

Since I have access to coffee all the time now, I am much more apt to just say 'eh, I could get coffee now. That would be nice. But I could get it in 20 minutes, too.' Then I find something else to do (like write in here) and I forget all about it. I still drink a good bit of caffeine, but not nearly as much as I used to. If I open, which I do twice a week, I usually have a double latte sometime around 1 pm, opting for a Vitamin Water instead of coffee in the morning.

When I close, I usually have a double latte around 7:30 or 8 pm. And that's it. I don't do shots of espresso on the hour or anything ridiculous like I imagined I would.

This cutting back on caffeine has done me well, I think. I seem to sleep more soundly at night, and I don't get headaches if I don't get my morning coffee. Well, not every day anyway.

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Philadelphia Will Do getting shut down because of the buyout? Man, that would be a sad day. I love that blog. Go send your well wishes to D-Mac. Now.

Not that this is by any means 'new news,' but Bill O'Reilly is a fucking douchebag. Pass it on. How can anyone take this man seriously when he can't engage in an argument without
getting flustered? I love in the end when she's like "I served 29 years in the armed forces Bill, how many did you serve?"

I wish my blog were more like Dead Air Space. Also I wish I made the money that Thom Yorke makes. Oh and the rest of Radiohead. Maybe then I could write in broken vagueries and have people trip over each other trying to touch the hem of my pants.

More on things later.

02 April, 2007

It's a fantasy world, really

With the MLB play in game for the full season stretch and all the games on Monday, it's just about time to settle in for the other 161 games still to come. Of course, this also means that fantasy baseball is once again in full swing. My league's draft was last Monday night, and in a shallow league such as mine there are still plenty of top tier players left on the free agent board. That said, I think I drafted pretty well, albeit perhaps a bit too deeply.

I may re-think some of these picks once the season really heats up (toward the end of April), but so as it stands now, my team is in pretty good shape I think. I hope? Here's my lineup and some of the reasons I picked each player. They are listed in the order that they were drafted, too. Feel free to criticize.

1. David Ortiz (Bos) - UTIL
One of the best hitters in the game, and the dude ahead of me had already taken Pujols. I had the 4th pick, and ahead of Ortiz went Beltran, Pujols and Soriano. He doesn't get injured (often) and last season he scored 115 runs and drove in 137. Should finish with an OPS over 1.00 and a ton of RBI's and runs. Not bad. Last year I took Manny first overall and was sorely disappointed when he checked out for the season just as I was making a push for first in my league.

2. Joe Mauer (Min) - C
The dude won the batting title in the AL last year. That's no small feat. He's a young guy in great shape who hits for power at his position and gets on base a lot too. Top catcher in fantasy and a steal in the second round. Plus he's hitting alongside Morneau, who I wish I had gotten. I think he'll have a little recession in his BA, and he's definitely not going to earn batting champion status again but I'd be fairly surprised if he hits under .315.

3. Matt Holliday (Col) - LF
Dude can rake, and in Colorado he's ridiculous. 119 R and 114 RBI last season and a .326 average, and he's only getting better. He's got former slugger turned extra base hit machine Todd Helton to learn from, and that thin air up there should do him very, very well. Young guy with huge potential as long as he can have smart at bats. He's faceless in MVP, so it's odd to see him in real life.

4. Jimmy Rollins (Phi) - SS
Maybe fourth was a bit too high to have drafted Rollins, but I think he's primed to have a great year. With all the talk he's been doing about the Phils going to the series this year, I figure it's time to either put up or shut up. 36 SB's and 126 R last season ain't bad either. Hitting at the top of their lineup I bet his numbers go up a fair amount. Not a power hitter but he swings a good bat and won't have too many errors.

5. Rich Harden (Oak) - P
I panicked because I saw other people taking pitchers starting in the 5th (except Santana who went in the first). I had him at the top of my queue and time ran out on the clock before I could move him down and switch him out with someone else. Could be worse though, he could be injury prone... Here's hoping he has a stellar season like so many think he will. Based on facial hair alone Dan Haren wins hands down, but Harden is still a good pick if he stays healthy.

6. Mark Teahen (KC) - 3B
A bit of a stretch here considering he's on the Royals, but here's hoping. He had a .974 OPS during the second half of last season, so maybe he can come close to that at some point this year. Definitely should not have drafted him so high, but he was one of those picks that has a lot of if/then aspects to it. He's moving to the outfield but is still 3B eligible, meaning he won't have many errors (hopefully), which count in my league.

7. Matt Cain (SF) - P
He did me well for most of last season, so I picked him again out of loyalty. And, umm, he did well last season. Looking for a small WHIP and lots of K's from him. He was downright dominant on occasion last year, and with some more work hopefully he can keep that up. If his ERA stays under 3.70 and he strikes out 180+ I'll be happy. He's a young guy, too, only five days older than I am.

8. Chris Ray (Bal) - RP
Not sure why I drafted Ray while Papelbon was still on the board, but working with Leo Mazzone for another full season should do him well. Not that he did poorly last year, but he should be even better. Minuscule WHIP and an ERA under 2.20 would be awesome. I'm hoping for 40 SV's as well, but that may be a stretch considering the Orioles offense. Also, Chris Ray looks incredibly vacant in his picture. He probably is in real life, too.

9. Chris Burke (Hou) - 2B
This is one of those picks that as I was making it I thought "man, I can't believe I'm going to pick this guy." He's fast, and should hit in front of Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee, so if he can get on base he should score me some runs. His SB's aren't as high as I would like considering his speed, but it's okay. I bet he hits over .300 this season too, since he'll have a full year on the big club barring any injuries. Plus I hit really well with him in MVP, which of course means nothing but whatever.

10. Todd Helton (Col) - 1B
Not sure how he fell this far, but I picked him up since all signs point to a great year. He's "in better shape than he's ever been" (aren't they all?) and will hit alongside Holliday. I'm hoping the Sox pull off a trade for him at the deadline and he finished the season with, oh, 400 doubles off of the monster. If not it's okay, he should still do okay. He won't hit as many HR's anymore, but he's still a good hitter and will get on base often enough to make it worth a pick.

11. Torii Hunter (Min) - CF
Contract year for a player who was one of the best on my team last season. He had a career type year last season, but considering his contract situation, I think he'll step up in a big way again. I'm not saying he's going to have a '06 Soriano-like year by any means, but definitely at least on par with last year if not better. The only foreseeable problem is that since he plays all out all the time, he's an injury risk. Let's hope for the best though eh?

12. Josh Beckett (Bos) - P
A full season in Boston has done him well, I suspect. He'll get a bunch of K's and hopefully 15+ wins. If he can keep his WHIP and ERA reasonable down I'll be pleased. So long as he can settle down a bit and keep from giving up so many HR's, he has the talent to be a dominant #2 behind Schilling. I may have done better drafting Matsuzaka here but I think Beckett will do me a solid in '07, and Matsuzaka is as yet untested in MLB so I'm still a bit skeptical.

13. Gary Sheffield (Det) - RF
He's the de-facto DH this season now that Sean Casey is healthy, and he's playing pissed because of the Yankees situation. He won't have to field, just hit, and he does that well anyway. Hitting in their lineup should do him well, although Comerica Park isn't exactly a hitter's paradise. He'll net me a good OPS and probably 100+ RBI's. Plus he's not on the Yankees anymore, so I can draft him without feeling guilty.

14. Dave Bush (Mil) - P
Another one of those players that I took because he was on my team last year and did well. He improved mightily from '05 to '06, and got better throughout the season. I'm hoping for a big year from him. He's one of those control pitchers that just bangs the strike zone relentlessly, go he gets a lot of K's and his WHIP should be really low. I'm betting he gets over 15 wins and upstages Ben Sheets.

15. Erik Bedard (Bal) - P
Everything I've read in the past few months points to this guy having a monster year. Big on the K's and wins I would think, but his ERA is something I'm going to have to watch closely because when he gets hit he gets hit hard, especially with that fastball. Last year was an adjustment period for Leo Mazzone in the O's coaching cabinet, so '07 can't go anywhere but up for Orioles pitchers. At least I'm banking on it.

16. Kevin Youkilis (Bos) - 1B
Every time I needed a big week on my team last season, Youk came through in a big way. I like his steady hitting, and if Coco Crisp craps out he could hit at the top of the lineup. He did that very effectively last season, so here's hoping. In either case he's a solid pickup should Helton get injured or slump in a big way. Plus if Helton gets traded, someone's going to have to platoon at first on occasion. That of course would be Youkilis. I'm also hoping he plays some #B this season and regains that eligibility in my league.

17. Alex Rios (Tor) - LF
Again, another player that has consistently improved and will continue to do so as long as he gets regular playing time. He had some foot troubles last season, but on both sides of that he had a great OPS and stole a few bases as well. Plus he's hitting in a pretty decent lineup, so I'm expecting around 70-80 in both runs and RBI's.

18. Morgan Ensberg (Hou) - 3B
If Teahen goes bust, Ensberg is a decent backup. I'd expect a decent OPS from him, and 80 or so RBI's to make him worth keeping around. If not, his ass is gone. He seems like one of those hot or cold guys, so the trick will be trying to recognize when he's about to go on a tear and when he's going to be working the sunflower seeds in the dugout for a while. Not sure where he's hitting in their lineup, but I'm not sure it matters.

19. Dan Wheeler (Hou) - RP
He's the current setup man for the Astros, and he's quite good at it. I drafted him though because he's the understood closer if Lidge can't get it together this year. He'll get me some holds, and contribute a decent ERA and better than decent WHIP to the effort. It's a win-win situation because I don't have too much in the way of pitching at the moment. Only three relievers and not much else. Wheeler's versatility should serve me well in whatever role he ends up taking.

20. Chris Duffy (Pit) - CF
Drafted solely because his steal potential. ESPN the Magazine rated him with a huge upside so I figured it would be okay to use a late round pick and drop if necessary. He is hitting at the top of the Pirates lineup, so I'm hoping he scores runs in droves to accompany those steals. Plus with the way Torii Hunter plays the field there's a chance he could go down with injury so it's good to have someone waiting in the wings.

21. Mike Piazza (Oak) - C
A full season of not squatting down should do Piazza well. He's still a good hitter and should do well once he gets his AL batting legs. I'm going to sit him on the bench for a little bit and see how he does to start the season. If Frank Thomas's semi-huge resurgence last season is any indication Piazza could be a steal in the 21st round. Thomas was used to hitting in the AL, however, so we'll see. Also Belle and Sebastian wrote a song about Piazza. Sad bastard music for sure.

22. Cla Meredith (SD) - RP
He pitched really well last season, and along with Wheeler will get me the holds I'm looking for. He's not going to get any saves to speak of but that's fine.A good K/9 and low WHIP will make me pretty happy from him. If his ERA is a bit above 2.5 I'll be okay with it. It will be his second season in the majors though, so there is definitely the chance he could experience a sophomore slump. Something to watch out for.

23. David Dellucci (Cle) - LF/RF
Another player who I drafted for a single reason, which is that his OPS upside is a bit above 1.0. Definite bench player because he doesn't play regularly, but still a good guy to pocket away and keep an eye on. He could start seeing some regular time this season and if he does he could be pretty decent.



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Holy crap, the new Gameday from MLB.com is freaking amazing. It's improved about 500% from previous years. It's closer to real time now, and you can change the views, looking in from the mound or out from the betters box. There is also a pitch by pitch breakdown and pitch history, both for the batter and the pitcher.

I'm definitely planning on watching games this year with this window pulled up. There's so much detail, and the best part is it's free. ESPN insider service definitely doesn't have this much in-depth info, but then again, ESPN doesn't have the access to all the ballpark resources that MLB does. You know, because it's their league and all.

Manny is making a valiant effort to appear as homeless as possible.

Also I'm not sure if you noticed but I have cornered the market on huge goatees in my league. Youkilis and Helton only took off their flannel shirts for the individual pictures. The ratio of facial hair to non facial hair on my team is pretty decent too. 12-11. That's a .522 average for those of you keeping track.

Basically what I'm saying is that if my team's facial hair were a batter, it would have the best average ever. I'm okay with that.

Enjoy the season y'all.

Facebook stalking for fun and profit

I know that some people read this blog because it shows up on their Facebook news feed, so I like to check and make sure that's working from time to time. I prefer going to actual pages to read blogs, because it dramatically improves the content. Cough. Or not.

After checking the integrity of the feed from this here blog, I started browsing profiles on said Facebook. This led me to the profiles of some people with whom I attended high school but were younger than I. I'm fairly sure most people have arrived at this epiphany at one point or another, but here it is anyway: Despite knowing that everyone is aging at the same rate, there are those people who will always remain 'young' to me, and likewise there are those that will always be 'old.' I mean, some of the people I'm talking about, without naming names, are by no means high school freshman anymore.

Although I know this not to be true, that's still how I see them. These people are old enough to go drinking with and yet I still can't fathom them driving a car legally. Or being in college. Or, you know, responsible in any way.

It's like when you look back at elementary school yearbooks and see that one kid that was like, a full year older than everyone else. Despite the fact that he's still 12 years old in the picture, when this happens to me I always see a 12 year old that is older than I am. It's an odd mental quirk that I feel most people have experienced in some way or another.

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- Here's Rachel Ray doing what she does best. Mmmmm.

Oh also on Salon.com, if you want to see something funny, check out the Blog Report on Politics. It's great seeing right and left wing blog excerpts on the same page.

- Only nine more episodes of 24. Now we're into the single digits. Alas. Who's the mole? Is there a mole?

- That hot foreign broad with whom Tom Brady shacks up is taking pole dancing lessons. No words. None.

- Speaking of shacking up, The Pirate Bay just climbed in bed with Jim Jong-Il. This after they tried to buy Sealand and set up their own sovereign nation. This is just one of those things that makes me shake my head an smile in a 'these people are plain nuts' sort of way. April Fools, right PB guys? Right?

- Jamiroquai's 'Virtual Insanity' is on the radio as I type this (on XPN, of course). How appropriate. And to think when this song came out there was no such thing as 'Web 2.0,' MySpace, Facebook, Digg, or any of that nonsense. Remember downloading the Sonique mp3 program and listening to Korn songs that took a day and a half to download? Yeah, me too...

- The new track by Tom Morello's band The Nightwatchman, 'The Road I Must Travel,' is so different from anything he's done before (ie Rage Against the Machine) but damn good none the less.

- Annnndd coffee.

I wore a sweatshirt under a jacket to work this morning and could see my breath. It's supposed to be 75 later today. What the hell?