* Two matches watched this weekend, two 0-0 draws. Not exactly enthusiasm-building, but interesting. I definitely like Ian Darke and ESPN2’s coverage over Fox Soccer, but the latter is now in HD and that’s a nontrivial improvement over five years ago.

* seriously, the GOP’s man on a white horse is a Texas governor? This is the worst fucking joke I ever heard.

* this post brought to you by another go-round with the iPad. Blogging just to see what’s up; also need to try the Bluetooth keyboard on SBNation sites again.

* Texas A&M needs the SEC to give them the throw-weight to compete with Texas and their private network. The SEC needs Texas A&M not at all. For the Aggies to think the SEC would cast aside all thoughts of legal liability and divisional balance to throw open the doors says a lot more about the pathologies of Texans than about the practicalities of college football.

* Brooks Brothers now sells Vanderbilt merchandise INSERT YOUR JOKE HERE.

* Why does one always get the urge to spend money when money is tight? Even if – especially if – there’s nothing remotely justifiable to buy?

2011 Soccer Update

Right on time, here’s Grantland with the season preview, complete with “Recommended If You Like” for all twenty teams. I had forgotten who got promoted, and I’m tempted to throw in with Norwich City for Stephen Fry or Swansea just for the Welshness of it all.  Probably still Spurs or Fulham, though – Newcastle is looking less likely than ever if they’re really in a situation as dire as described below.

flashbacks, part 35 of n

It’s the quadrennial ritual: be an American, watch the World Cup, get swept up into the madness and vow you will find an English Premier League team to support.  It didn’t really happen in 2002 for me, but it sure did in 2006, when Setanta Sports dangled temptingly out there with three games a week plus Celtic.  Famously, Bill Simmons solicited suggestions and did an exhaustive analysis, winding up as a notional supporter of Tottenham Hotspur (although there was a never-explained dalliance with Newcastle United that went maddeningly unelaborated-upon).

At the time, our household (and by that, I mean myself and my surrogate big sister) settled semi-organically on Newcastle, because they always seemed to be on and because they looked sufficiently interesting (and because we snickered like ten-year-olds every time the play-by-play man said “Rammage, into Butt”).  Problem was, they weren’t very good, and went through a succession of managerial changes and ownership chaos before ultimately taking the drop a couple of years later.  Meanwhile, Celtic were at the height of the Strachan era, clubbing Rangers with regularity and routinely winning in injury time on the road with a fabulous goal from Venegoor of Hesselink or a deadly free-kick from Nakamura, so I had a tough time latching on when there was a perfectly serviceable Scottish team playing in the Champions League.

Then Strachan went, and Setanta went, and the Bhoys cratered with Tony Mowbray at the controls, and I started sniffing around again.  I glanced at Aston Villa, because they had American ownership and Martin O’Neill at the helm, but he went.  I thought about Man City, but they suddenly got a filthy-rich sheikh as an owner and turned into Blankcheckster City. I glanced at Everton, but Landon Donovan chose to stay with Galaxy, and I know too many Liverpool fans.  I thought I had settled on Fulham, but there are rumblings that Clint Dempsey may not be there for long.  And Spurs lurched into the picture again, because their shirt sponsor makes the backup app at work AND they’re the partner club of San Jose Earthquakes AND they’re the first team on ESPN2 this year AND they’re playing in Europe.  And sure enough, after the 2010 World Cup, Spencer Hall did the EPL Rootability Index, and the top three teams were Everton, Fulham and Spurs…

I don’t know.  I keep wanting it to happen organically again, but I don’t quite know how, short of watching games whenever I can and seeing what grabs me.

But the other thing I remember from that era is that August 2006 is when I went all-in on Vanderbilt.  Having fully disavowed my undergrad institution that spring, I made the decision that I was going to *be* a Vanderbilt supporter.  And I remember going through quite a bit of mental gymnastics to arrive at a conclusion that let me feel like I was a valid Commodore, and I shoved all my chips in.  And that’s sort of how we wound up with the Music City Bowl, and my Vanderbilt jacket, and a VU hat lost in London, and my handle on the masthead at Anchor of Gold.  And how I wound up cursing the universe outside the Tank after the Murray State shot, sulking on the couch after the Siena flop, and drinking myself stupid on said sister’s couch after the nightmare this March.

August 2006 was in the middle of the “dull moment.”  Honestly, I have said it before, but in a lot of ways I was shot out of a gun at the end of my Vanderbilt career and didn’t come to a full stop until we moved into the house eight years later.  I think a lot of the reason that year was so good for me was the relief of just being able to relax – but at the same time, I was still in that void post-2005 of “well if I’m not the man I was, then who am I?”  And clearing the decks for Vanderbilt – to the exclusion of undergrad and (very nearly) of my childhood allegiance – was a critical part of answering that question, for a little while at least.  So in the grand scheme of things, it worked out for the best.

Now I just have to get around to picking that EPL team.  What’s a season or five?

This is why we can’t have nice things

They’re closing the 4Ps.

On the one hand, my first instinct is to run out and buy a ticket and be on a redeye Thursday, sleep through the day Friday, and then close it Friday and Saturday nights in succession.

Then again, I have pictures (and a little bit of video) and a decade of memories, and it might be best to leave them where they are – going back may only make things worse, especially since I still have yet to find a functional equivalent anywhere in the Bay Area that has good pints AND good food AND live music AND actual singing.

But seriously, this is just more proof of how my past always seems to crumble behind me.  Gotta keep running forward, because the ground is disappearing back there and it’s gaining.  And again I’m reminded of the old line: “Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t end.”

Dan Brown’s and the 4P’s inside of a year.  What the fuck next, are they going to close In N Out?


Fuck the teatards for making it possible, but fuck S&P more for acting as if they have any credibility after years of rating CDS trash triple-A.

flashback, part 34 of n

the fog is a ceiling, a lid, creates that shelter above that pairs so well with an alley, or a shadow, or an alcove, or a small room closed and locked against intrusion.  Time flows a little differently, shielded from the rest of the world – time for the mind to calm, reset, step back from the chaos and come back – if not fresh, at least less damaged.  A chance to get perspective, of a sort.

Sometimes you’re just better off without too much light.

-note fragment, august 27, 2010


Houseguests who are family are infinitely superior to houseguests who are just related.

Back to mobility

Because I need a distraction from all this other bullshit, I’m looking at my gadgetry again.  So bear with me.

After some donking around with various laptops, I have come to the conclusion that while the 11″ MacBook Air may be the perfect laptop for me, it’s not really compatible with work.  The fact is, I need 1440×900 for proper use of Apple Remote Desktop, and a 5-hour battery (probably more like 4) won’t get it done.  So any future work laptop would need to be the 13″ MacBook Air at a minimum.

This brings me back to the idea of the 13″ MBA for work plus the iPad for personal use.  Only problem is I still can’t really use the iPad for ESPN3, or reading thousand-comment threads on EDSBS, or posting to some of my blogs.  But some of that can be done through the web browser (and presumably in private mode) so as long as I *have* the laptop I can still get by.  But I’m definitely counting on iCloud to make it a lot easier to live with a desktop and an iPhone.

Meanwhile, the Kindle is still great for text reading, but not that hot for browsing anything other than Google Reader.  Nevertheless, the fact is, it’s free – and as much as it would not suck to have a 3G-enabled iPad for travel, I’m not sure I want to splash out on exorbitant rates for that access.  Much easier to stick with the iPhone where you’re already paying for 3G as a matter of course.  But it would sure be nice to have that big iPad screen for maps, and GPS to boot.

And today I wandered into work without my power supply for the laptop.  Not very reliable without a place to plug in.  And I can’t really fail over to the Kindle for anything workwise, so it’s got to be the iPhone until further notice.  Huh.

But the iPad is so much easier than a laptop to just pull out and read, and it runs rings around the Kindle for the viewing of PDFs – hell, runs rings around the Kindle speedwise anyway, and so much easier to use at bedtime.  And from a battery life standpoint, beats any laptop…and definitely cheaper to spend $730 on a 32 GB iPad than $1200 on an above-vanilla 11″ MBP.

The thing is, we normally expect to squeeze 3-4 years out of a laptop.  At this point, I don’t know that it’ll be feasible to squeeze more than two years from a tablet.  Now if the tablet is half the price of the laptop, maybe that’s reasonable, but we’re sort of through the looking glass on the future of mobility computing and I don’t know what the new normal is for expected lifespan of devices, especially with the two-year timeframe of mobile phones as the reference point.

And yes, we are squarely back in the “I want to need the things I want” mode.  Look, I’m of redneck stock, count your blessings that it’s gadgets and not guns.  Oh look, there we go again…well, it was worth a shot.

Last word on the debt ceiling

One more norm has gone by the books.  The debt ceiling has been raised dozens of times over the last few decades, with no hullabaloo beyond the out-of-power party occasionally voting against as a political gesture – at no point has it ever been used as leverage to squeeze out some other political arrangement.  Until now.  Just like how the Senate never used to filibuster routine legislation and there was no presumption of needing 60 votes for everything.  Until now.

There used to be rules.  There were ways things were done.  They were there for a reason – because politics used to be the art of the possible, the slow grind of hammering things out day in and day out.  And you didn’t have this kind of blow-it-all-up nonsense because you knew you would have to come back and deal with these people again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after.

That doesn’t exist anymore.  One party – and spare me the false equivalence; there is absolutely nothing comparable on the other side of the fence – one party has decided that literally nothing is beyond the pale and that the goal is to wipe out the other side.  Thus the past two and a half years of scorched earth.  Thus the threat of default that has already cost $2 billion in interest and will probably continue poisoning the economic recovery for months if not years.  Thus the continual mainstreaming of the sort of insanity that was previously reserved for fringe preachers and survivalist nutters.  All taking advantage of the fact that the media is in thrall to the magic median and that our current President is wedded to the belief that reason and negotiation can accomplish something even in this climate.

So here we go.  Expect another government shutdown threat in September when the budget expires.  Republicans will threaten to blow it all up, because they are a party of extortionist thugs, and Democrats will cave because they don’t want the car to go off the cliff.  And the Fox-driven media will blame the Democrats, and the rest of them will wring their hands and cry “a pox on both your houses!” and with nothing to fear more than an equal share of the blame, the GOP will continue with whatever they can get away with.

This is the new normal.  Idiots relying on the reporting of morons and electing assholes.

I want out.  I deserve better than this shit.