thecubsfan.com

snow change no change

Jan
31

That’s about it. I will only allow to snow the rest of winter within rules.

It must not snow at times where I’d like to drive today. I nearly was killed twice today going to Wendys to get a burger and fries, and the fries were really awful. So I need clean streets so I don’t start to skid on turns and so I don’t have to slow down to not skid on turns and almost get rear ended in the process.

It must not snow enough that I have to shovel any driveway. It definitely must not snow enough that I have to shovel any driveway multiple times (and think about waking up early to do it again.) It’s okay to let my driveway get snowy, but I must still be able to get up and down it without getting stuck (again) and it’s gotta melt away within a couple days.

You can do whatever you want next year, I’ve just had enough of these random days of 1.5 inches of snow, and today’s 5 inches isn’t really the break I was looking for.

how to look like a spy without really trying

Jan
30


A little bit to the left of my computer, my jailbroken iPod Touch is in the process of self-updating to the latest firmware version. I’m using the process detailed at ijailbreak.com, which is a lot nicer than doing the work yourself.

It doesn’t really count as a feature, but I’m particularly amused by the download not being shown by some download bar graphic, but unrefined gray text on a black console script session, with an updating percentage and a keyboard of no particular use. Anyone walking by will take one look at it and figure my iTouch as some double secret code overriding, data stealing device ripped from 24. It’s totally cutting age hacker-ish prop perfect, until it finishes the download.

the joy of a incumbent-less primary

Jan
25

I’m pretty sure I’m voting for an actual mad Scientist for the House, though more mad about The Way They Do Things in DC and less overflowing beakers and movie monsters. Also, not the one who just died. I was totally in love with the idea of voting for a guy vouched for by 28 Nobel Prize winners, so I was overjoyed to read all the papers endorsing him.

Sadly, the Dairy King he’ll possibly be facing in March’s special election is not as awesome as his milk. (They even do home deliver in 2008!) I wholly endorse the milk and wish his policies were more in line with the store’s policy of paying for returned bottles.

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PS3 Releases: week of January 20, 2007

Jan
25

NEWS: sounds like Sony’s discontinuing the 80GB soon, which would be the last one with backwards compability. And GTA IV is pushed to April due to PS3 issues.

on the shelves

01/22: Burnout Paradise (Stats): 9.0ish reviews everywhere. The big advancement is open-world layout; instead of going menu to menu to choose races, you drive to the intersections where they’re happening. 120 events are accessible from the world go. The races themselves don’t follow tracks or paths – you start in point A, the finish line is point B, and you zoom thru town anyway you want in between. Downside is you can’t immediately retry a race if you’ve failed (because you’ve got to drive back to the start and you’re at the finish), a map of the city only appears on the pause screen and it takes a little longer to get a race going when you have to drive around town to get to it. PS3 has slightly better visuals (!) though only X360 allows you to put your own songs in the game.

in the store

Downloadable Games

– PixelJunk Monsters {$8, for now} – Sony‘s got a gameplay preview, which still confuses me. I’m told it’s good, so don’t listen to me.

Add-ons

– Folklore Create-a-Creature Winner {FREE}

– Rock Band: Oasis singles {$2 each, $5.50 al}
* “Wonderwall”
* “Live Forever”
* “Don’t Look Back in Anger”

– Guitar Hero III “Classic Rock Track” {$6.25}
* “Peace of Mind” by Boston
* “Jukebox Hero” by Foreigner
* “Any Way You Want It” by Journey

(Winner: Rock Band)

– Stranglehold Map Pack {$15} – different versions for the Collector’s edition, even though the Map Packs look otherwise the same, that’s dumb. 10 maps and 21 players skins, so if you’re playing deathmatches with friends, make them chip in.

Demos
* Devil May Cry 4 {Demo}
* The Club {Demo}

PS1 Classic
* Jet Moto 2 {$6} – also out for the PC

Game Video
* Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground

Movie Trailers
* Step Up 2: The Streets
* Dragon Wars

PS3 Theme
* PixelJunk Monsters
* Lemmings

over the horizon
01/29: nothing
02/05: Turok
02/05: Devil May Cry 4
02/18: FIFA Street 3
02/19: Dynasty Warriors 6
02/26: Lost
03/03: MLB 2K8
03/04: MLB ’08: the Show
03/11: Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2008
03/18: Gran Turismo 5 Prologue
04/08: Star Wars: the Force Unleashed
06/28: Grand Theft Auto IV
06/30: LEGO Indiana Jones

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to close to call

Jan
23

I think I may have done this post before. It feels like I’ve had this debate.

The NHL reupped it’s deal with Versus thru 2011 today, which is dumb enough. This line, written in the New York Times is actually significantly dumber:

Through 29 games, Versus’s 0.3 rating is modest, but it is 50 percent higher than the 0.2 average at the same time last season.

I’d like to introduce the NYTimes writer to the phrases “statistically insignificant” and “margin of error”. Which is funny, because just last year there was apparently a big issue about the same thing in the same paper.

I saw this again reading Figure Four Weekly, though it should be noted that all the newsletters will be talking about this as a ‘win’ for TNA.

ECW did a 1.2 rating this week and 1,488,000

[TNA did] a 1.22 rating …. 1,623,000 viewers.

How do we know the Neilsen ratings are accurate to the .01 rating point? Or to a 1,000 viewers? I do know they poll a sample size of random people for their television viewing habits and projected those numbers for the full (US) TV viewing universe, adjusting for things like race and age. If you want to know how big that sample size is or anything else exact about accuracy, you’ll waste your time going to their website. Everything there is in general terms.

I don’t have exact numbers either, but I do have enough of my college statistical course still locked in my brain to remember these numbers are just the mid point of a range of equally likely possibilities. Of all the possible numbers in the world, the TNA is most likely exactly 1.22, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the rating is at least 50% likely to be 1.22 – it may be 33% likely to be 1.22 or less. There’s a 95% chance* the rating is within the margin of error, with the best chance a 1.22, there’s a 2.5% chance it’s way less than 1.22 and there’s a 2.5% chance it’s way higher than 1.22. If the margin of error is 4% or less, TNA probably had more viewers. Once the margin of error gets to 5%, there are situations where ECW actually got more viewers.

* – probably, but I’m assuming here to cut down on the numbers and maybes

It all depends on what the margin of error is, and I believe it’s a lot higher than anyone would figure for channels like SciFi or Versus. Channels that are available less would get counted by a small portion of the Neilsen sample, increasing the margin of error. It’s probably smaller for network shows, but it’s going to be an even bigger swing; just a .04 margin of error for a show that gets a 7.5 means they’re actually saying it’s probably between 7.2 and 7.8.

For TNA and ECW and the like, .1 up/down weekly changes (and differences) are probably meaningless. .2 are likely as well. If there’s a trend of a show going down .1 every week for many weeks, it’d mean something then, but declaring winners and losers based on anything less than .2 difference is a waste of time. Those are the most inconclusive victories.

Of course, the real stories here is, even if the numbers were perfect, TNA shouldn’t be celebrating beating ECW – this is much more a story of ECW falling to TNA levels, TNA’s barely moved themselves – and the NHL is just as self deluded if they truly believe getting 0.3 ratings is a sign of something going right.

TK & Rachel are wise

Jan
22

So, when watching the final, I thought

if you’re racing this race from now on, you’ve got to start taking notes on everything you do, everywhere you go, and everyone when they get eliminated just so you have that ready if you make the finish

As it turns out, the winning team figured this out one season quicker than me

“Rachel kept a journal throughout the entire race,” [TK] says. “So we spent the entire flight from Taiwan to Alaska reading her journal over and over – what we’d done and what countries we’d been too – because we knew that in past seasons there’d been those all-encompassing challenges.”

I also like how they watched past seasons and realized people who didn’t argue did better, as though this was a secret. I wish more teams figured out the same rather than just the “sit in front of the plane” tip.

obligatory non-Lieber post

Jan
21

I could care less the selling the name of Wrigley story. I hope they don’t, but I know they probably will. Just as much, I know people will keep on calling it Wrigley, so they’ll likely be smart enough to sell it as something like “Wrigley Field, presented by Motorola.” The Cubs will continue playing baseball in whatever they call the field and life will go on.

I’m much more bugged about this idea of selling Wrigley to Illinois State Facility Authority. I don’t know that I can necessarily trust the state to manage an aging baseball stadium when they just blew multiple deadlines to keep the trains running and only accomplished that much with budgets held hostage so the Governor can start begging for votes. The Cubs have been historically mismanaged enough without a inept/corrupt state government getting involved.

I will grant that they’ve done a decent enough job with the Cell after the renovations, but they had to do the renovations because they screwed up so much in the first place.

This doesn’t seem like a long term method of keeping the Cubs in Wrigley. Yea, the Tribune can tie them to stadium after selling them, but the new owner is going to want to break out of any disadvantage deal, and selling the stadium separate from the team is probably not going to benefit the new owners at all. Splitting the stadium from the team sends things down a bad road.

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amazing final

Jan
20

Meant to write this earlier but got distracted by the Wire. I can watch and work during other shows, but not that one so far. We’re going to pretend this was on Sunday, mostly because I can fudge the time that way.

In the olden days, Amazing Races used to be decided on the last leg by either needle in the haystack luck or transportation luck, but it always seemed the winner in a close race was the one who just happened to have a little more luck, usually involving a taxi ride. This was somewhat frustrating, but typical of the rest of the show; being best in any particularly leg did not necessarily mean you were the best team in the race at that moment because of whatever breaks people got, but being the last team almost always means you had a bad team at that point. Losing felt fair, winning was less so.

The fix, I’ve finally figured out after three seasons of doing it, is turning the last major challenge into a major mental challenge revolving around immense memory about everything that happened on the race. It’s a nice effort, but I wondered tonight if they went too far. The team I was rooting for did win, so I wasn’t too crushed or anything, but the final task was much more complicated than anything they had done so far, it felt tacked on and almost as arbitrary as the magical taxi finishes. I think, if you’re racing this race from now on, you’ve got to start taking notes on everything you do, everywhere you go, and everyone when they get eliminated just so you have that ready if you make the finish, and at that point, is this The Amazing Race or is The Mole?

(which we’re all thrilled is coming back this summer, but that’s beside the point)

I appreciate to make the Amazing Race end with a task that selects the best team, and the task here not only had great drama but paid off a season long storyline. (First Half Of The Race Ron would’ve lost his mind on Christina.) The show was great, the season was great, I’m just a little bit less than satisfied with the final task.

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book report

Jan
19

Read Chris Jericho’s bio today. I thought it was great, a really fun read. It works because Jericho’s a hilarious geek, but a lot of it are the stamps on his passport(s). It’s the differences between different wrestling cultures, and the unexpected similarities between the people there that make it work. “A Lion’s Tale” is a story about the people Jericho meets more than it is about the matches they have.

Jericho’s mentioned in interviews about the book (which reminds me, if you’ve noticed him saying three of the same five stories in every interview and worry that’s a sign about how few stories he has or something, don’t worry about that) that his career path is one that’s not really possible to be followed today. I think that’s true, and wrestling fans are worse off for it now, but I’m now thinking these bio books in the future are going to suffer more. Going Canada -> Mexico -> Germany -> US mid promotion -> Japan -> US Major -> US Major is a heck of a lot more fun to read about than the indy -> high profile US indy circuit -> developmental -> US Major compressed trip will be.

I never tire of “WCW was SO bad” stories, because you inevitably find it how it was really even more screwed up than it seemed before. WCW bringing creating the Goldberg/Jericho feud with one arm and then trying to ax it when Jericho got it over with another arm is astoundingly believable.

Jericho’s WCW debut has stuck in my head for the last decade* because it had to be one of the first Nitros I saw and the finish was particularly annoying – what kind of competitor would give up a win and get himself counted out just because Alex Wright got hurt on the outside? I loathed 1996 Jericho back in the day, and it’s funny to find out Jericho wasn’t a big fan of that guy either.

(I still think the crowd lean was indefensible, but at least now I know what he was going for.)

People in their late teens who are die hard fans being completely unaware business of wrestling seems like some impossible fiction nowadays.

Next person who says a nice thing about Mil Mascaras will be the first.

* – a decade meaning (more than) TEN YEARS AGO! time is scary!

PS3 Releases: week of January 13, 2007

Jan
18

on the shelves

nothing!

I did download the Super Stardust HD demo last week, but gave up on it after like five minutes. YAY content.

in the store

Downloadable Games

– Tori-Emaki {$2, requires PSEye} – this one’s for the birds
– Mesmerize {$2, requires PSEye} – like the previous game, this seems more like visual effects based on your movement (as picked up by the Eye) rather than a game. There’s free PS3 Themes for both games as well.
– Blast Factor Bundle ($13; includes Multiplayer Pack & Advanced Research Pack} – the game itself is from the early days of PS3, and the other two packs were expansions from last year. I think you’re saving $3 buying it together. The game itself is an arcade shooter that got middling reviews when it came out.

Add-ons

– MotroStorm Double Track Pack {$3} – “Eagle’s Nest” and “Diamondback Speedway”. Unlike the usual cards, this does not appear to be something you’d normally get in career mode.

– Rock Band singles {$2 each}
* “Last Train to Clarksville” by the Monkeys
* “All the Small Things” by Blink 182 – I can’t think this has aged well
* “Action” – Sweet

Demos
* Turok
* FIFA Street 3 – I downloaded this last night, and was happy to find no EA/PS3 problems, so far. But I haven’t really got the hang of it yet. It seems fun, but that’ll wear off if I keep getting killed 6-1.

Game Video (all trailers)
* PixelJink Monsters
* Borderlands
* Dynasty Warrior 6
* Brother In Arms Hell’s Highway
* Lost Planet
* Syphon Filter: Combat Ops

PS3 Theme
* PAIN: (Ice Tea, Ed T-Bone)
* Call of Duty 5: Modern Warfare
* and one each for those PSEye Games

over the horizon
01/22: Burnout Paradise
01/24: PixelJunk Monsters
01/29: nothing
02/05: Turok
02/05: Devil May Cry 4
02/18: FIFA Street 3
02/19: Dynasty Warriors 6
02/26: Lost
03/03: MLB 2K8
03/04: MLB ’08: the Show
03/11: Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2008
03/18: Gran Turismo 5 Prologue
04/08: Star Wars: the Force Unleashed
06/28: Grand Theft Auto IV
06/30: LEGO Indiana Jones

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