29 December 2011

My friends will think I'm crazy

Imagine all the things we know are bad ideas and don't do, and thus never get to experience.

20 December 2011

Ping pong

There's a ping pong table at work. I'm pretty bad at ping pong but I played some at school because one of my grad school colleagues was super into it and would no shit every week browbeat us into going. That being said, I don't take ping pong seriously but it's a load of fun to just dick around with.

I see a good amount of people at working taking ping pong quite seriously. Like fairly good technique and such. Stuff I couldn't dream of pulling off with any success.

But a lot of the time what happens is they'll be playing, with some skill, and someone does this outrageous slam. Most of the time it goes way off the table or into the net or some other bad outcome. And yet I see this all the time as I'm going to the break room to get my lunch or water. Again and again.

Competent.
Overconfident.

Why?

16 December 2011

Hmmm

I kinda wonder if...nevermind.

15 December 2011

Roadrunner twice

7:30: Alarm goes off, beautiful KEXP music fills my eager ears.
9:00: Out of bed, finally.
10:00: Arrive at FedEx office location in the Denny triangle. Receive a 20 pound box with Legal Seafood branding. Start schlepping box towards work.
10:10: Arrive at work looking for fridge space. Run into the support engineer for my team. He probably wasn't expecting to run into someone carrying around fresh seafood. Who would?
10:20: Leave work finding no fridge space. Curse the name of my uncle for his generous gift.
10:45: Arrive home to open box. Out comes some chowder. Unidentified round other item. And then I see it. Amidst seaweed: one or maybe two lobsters. Unable to contain myself any longer, I throw the whole thing in the fridge. This will have to wait.
10:50: Text coworker that I have a live seafood situation and to tell my boss such if I miss the 11:15 sync up meeting.
11:15: Make sync up meeting.
16:00: Weekly meeting with the boss. Told I need to get my tasks done faster. Normally this would mean a late day in the office. Except...
18:20: Leave for speed dating.
18:40: Arrive in Belltown for speed dating. Realize I almost had worn the exact same shirt as my friend, but fortuitously changed after lobster schlepping incident.
19:00: Speed date.
21:30: Speed dating ends. Totally unsure of my performance, I bemoan my lack of self-awareness.
22:15: Arrive home.
22:30: Retrieve items from fridge. Start boiling water.
22:45: Retrieve mysterious round item from fridge. Oh my god it's a perfectly round miniature Boston Creme pie. Miracles of modern science.
23:30: Water seriously takes this long to boil!! Determine there are two lobsters. Further, ascertain lobsters are actually alive.
23:35: I show off lobsters to uninterested roommate. Remove rubber bands from claws. Then they go for a swim.
23:55: Lobsters come out.
23:58: Put on lobster bib.
0:00: Eating delicious lobster, a crab cake, and Boston Creme pie while listening to a song that features the Stop and Shop at the 9-27 plaza in Natick. No fucking shit.
1:00: Make lobster salad.
1:30: Day ends. Pretty ok.

08 December 2011

Ballet

There was a brief family tradition (i.e. we might have done this two years in a row), where we'd go see the Nutcracker at a local performing arts school. I remember my dad only going once. Before we went, he asked something about there being words. My mom told him that it was a ballet and there were no words, just dancing to music.

Ballet is all about nuanced suggestion through dance synchronized with music.

Why does ballet work? I mean I've never real 'got it', but there's sufficient expressive capability in what ballet entails to tell a story. But why not just have words?

That's a good question, until you realize we're all in a ballet, right now.

02 December 2011

Speed

How much can you learn in six minutes?

28 November 2011

Kittens

Most all kittens are born with some hunting instinct. But a kitten trying to hunt is going to hunt suboptimally, and probably won't be able to kill its prey. And that kitten will grow into a cat that is just inept of a hunter. But if that kitten just observes another cat hunting, however, it will learn the proper techniques.

This is not a kitten, but a world-weary looking dog:

16 November 2011

East Boston Street

I abandoned the plan. Now I'm here.

I had this plan after grad school where I'd buy a house in Revere or East Boston. I'd rent rooms out to friends. I'd take the blue line into the city to work. The summers I'd spend hitting the beach after work. Lazy weekend parties with booze and bocce and a crazed dog chasing the balls around.

People were like Matt you're crazed you don't want to live in fucking Revere.

Well I did, because that's what people said 30 years ago when people moved to Somerville or Cambridge. Ten years before that, the best thing people could think of doing with metro Boston was carving it up with highways. It was gritty and cheap. Revere and East Boston were as close to that as you'd get that right now. I was going to get ahead of the trend, buy a cheap old colonial on a hill in an only-ok, working class neighborhood and have the fucking time of my life.

When everyone else wanted in later on, I'd already be there. But I never felt totally cool about the plan. I felt too young for plans like these.

Then there was this one week last October.

I was interviewing for a company sort of on a lark. They weren't anywhere near Boston. This was as close to a hard and fast requirement for a company that I had. I was honestly willing and ready to do any sort of software development. No preference. But I wanted it to be in Boston.

I thought I bombed the interviews, but no big deal. I now work for this company. In Seattle.

How did this happen? I guess I figured I'd make sure I wouldn't be happier someplace else maybe.

When people ask me why I moved to Seattle, I say something like that, with much false confidence. Like it was the plan all along. Nah, it was the repudiation of the plan.

If I were to walk north to the end of my street now, I'd hit East Boston Street. And that's as close to Revere as I'll get.

But maybe that's a good thing. I'm still feeling out an entirely new place and I can't plan and maybe I shouldn't.

I'm just here and I'll figure it out as I go along.

(But I'd still like the crazed dog.)

12 November 2011

A solid website

What is making one Matt Laquidara chortle recently? This ol' website his good buddy Ilya found in an ol' garbage can!

This is the name of the website: http://yes.thatcan.be/my/next/tweet/

So yeah Matt Laquidara, doing business as twittername @laqoff, does use the twitter brand short style online messaging platform for relaying messages to his peers! Yeah it's dumb and stupid but like please don't stop reading. Pretty please? This online website device makes new 'tweets' out of your existing 'tweets'. 'Tweets' is a dumb word, call them messages or posts please.

I have used this on my posts and gotten some pretty hilarious results in my opinion. Not only that I've DRAWN some of them using computer technology because I can't sleep!


You may click the images to make them larger! But not too much because it will burn out the internet computer's biggen-coil!!!

EDIT:  A special bonus.

28 September 2011

Second annual Red Sox mathematical elimination post

Could anyone have predicted this? Sure there was the online scuttlebutt that the team was playing badly and in free fall and wasn't going to make it. But really, is there the technology to look at what happened this season and foresee the events of this evening?

I think events like this, where the narrative of a team in free fall seems to hold true in spite of the mathematical evidence of apparent streaks being nothing but random variation, cause people to question the merit of good solid statistical analysis of baseball. It isn't fair to lash out at these people, because quite frankly, the metrics we have do a more poor job explaining what happened than the narrative does.

But I think that just means that those who are really interested in understanding how baseball works need not question their course, but merely their tools and their explanations. We all need to look harder and explain better.

16 September 2011

A Quiz: Being a man (O sole mio)

I'm a dude, but I understand and comprehend that I'm not the most manly dude in the universe. I'm not really one to raise my voice and I've never been in a fight. BUT how many people possess this level of self-awareness? How many people can honestly go on the record and assert the extent of their hyperagressive dudularity?

To that I end: I present this simple quiz.

The other day, I was drawn to my window by the sound of what seemed like an imminent kerfuffle. Some dude, in a car, pulling out of his driveway was shouting at some other dude, who had parked on the street but was now out of his car. The dialog was pretty much as follows:
Dude in car: "I'm not talking to you!"
Other dude: Unintelligible.
Dude in car: "I'm not talking to you!"
Other dude: Unintelligible.

This persisted for awhile until the dude in the car said something along the lines of "don't park here anymore" and the other dude was not having any of it. As any rational human being would do, he, in what seemed to me to be slow motion, prepped a monumental loogie and up and hocked it on the guy's car!

How at this point, the hocker needs clearly needs to justify his actions verbally. What does he say? Remember: your manlihood rides on the answer to this question!
He says:
A: "Oh man I'm so sorry I totally overreacted there." sheepishly.
B: "That just happened! That just happened!" emphatically.
C:  "Che bella cosa e' na jurnata 'e sole / n'aria serena doppo na tempesta! / Pe' ll'aria fresca pare già na festa / Che bella cosa e' na jurnata 'e sole. / Ma n'atu sole, / cchiù bello, oje ne' / 'O sole mio" in operatic form, having just cleared his voice.
D: All of the above(???????)

If you answered B, man you nailed it. No mercy, no remorse, no regret. Clearly you're so hyperagressively extreme that your actions are so unbelievable that mere mortals cannot comprehend their appearance. You're a man, yes you am, yes you am. A? What are you thinking dude? Was your only aggressive act telling some dude to fuck off in high school because he was insistent that you punch him? While C would be pretty great, and would be my preferred action, we do not live in in this absurdist world. But can we? One can only dream. D just doesn't make sense I mean you can't say multiple things at once, god. What a cop out answer for people who can't make decisions.

If you're wondering how the story concluded, both parties drove off promising to report each other to the police.

MANHOOD!

31 August 2011

Love and Death at a Mariners Game

Monday, I attended a Mariners game. Due to a special offer related to some small book-selling company with which I may or may not exchange my time for their money, I got some pretty decent seats for pretty short money. I will now recap my adventure in list form:

  1. In honor of my favorite former Red Sox player I wore Wily Mo Pena regalia. Who do the Mariners start at DH? Adam Fucking Kennedy. I fucking hate Adam Kennedy.
  2. It's free Mariners towel night brought to you by Sanyo! My need to buy bath towels has been decidedly obviated.
  3. I pay approximately minor league prices and watch baseball from a seat with a nice, clear, unobstructed, if high, view of the entire field. I am able to watch the game without turing my neck in one direction the entire way through. Food for thought.
  4. One of my least favorite former Red Sox players starts for the Angels. Joel Pinero is a loser and always will be.
  5. To the right of me: guy with a laptop. To the left of me: girl way too excited about the wave. Girl two seats to the left readily admits, unprovoked to being more enthused by wave-creating efforts than the game at hand.
  6. Adam Kennedy's favorite song is "Nothin but G Thang". Adam Kennedy is a 35 year old white dude. Adam Kennedy redeemed. Walk up music for his third at-bat features Snoop Dogg.
  7. I ate too much.
  8. I'm not typically one to overvalue the save situation, but fat pre-pubescent girl trying to start the wave, do you have any idea what the leverage index is in this circumstance??
  9. As I'm walking out of the game I hear some dude say "that's a Wily Mo Pena jersey". I shoot back "you're right it is". Seattle redeemed.
  10. Dude had a hot girlfriend. Hot girlfriends for Wily Mo Pena fans? I'm thinking "yes".
  11. Oh the Mariners won.

26 August 2011

Songs about Yorman Bazardo

  • The Pixies - Here Comes Yorman
  • Bon Jovi - I Just Want to be Yorman
  • Salt N Peppa - I'll Take Yorman
  • Barry Manilow - I'm Yorman
  • The Beatles - I Want to be Yorman
  • Tina Turner - Stand by Yorman
  • Prince - I Could Never Take the Place of Yorman
Yorman Bazardo: Leading the league in songs about per innings pitched.

10 August 2011

Matt Laquidara's Fun Guide to America for Children

Do you know what America is made out of? The answer isn't federalism or apple pie or colors or the non-running variety, it's states!! As a man who recently moved his white ass across county (along with the rest of the the body) I feel compelled to report, to you the reader, about some of these states that make up this union.

Massachusetts
If you want to find out about Massachusetts just read some old entries from this blog. They're all about Massachusetts maybe.

Connecticut
Maybe I just want to use the word boner in this sense, but Connecticut has always been a state I've enjoyed for its highway construction boners. Did you know that they build a lovely 4-story high stack interchange on I-84 and it was attached to no other road for awhile because that road they were going to connect it to never got built. Those things ain't cheap, champ! Finally it did get built, so now they use half this monster. Also good luck going east-west across this state without cutting into Massachusetts or using I-95.

New York
Did you know that I-84 runs for 72.39 miles in New York. I didn't because I don't remember anything noteworthy about any of them.

Pennsylvania
Welcome to a place with a lot of hills. Watch out for rain. And construction. And construction traffic. For Office fans: you get to go through the Scranton Wilkes-Barre area which means you see signs for all those destination noted on the successful NBC network television program.

Ohio
Now we're fucking talking, kids. Did you know that Cleveland and Akron form nearly a continuous urbanized area in the middle of the state. What does that mean? The midwestern suburb.

You see it's all so flat there the hold world is spread out before you. You're some teen sitting in the front yard of your generic-looking house (all your neighbors' houses are the same, after all) and you can see forever. You see the streets and the corn fields beyond it. If you could climb the water tower you'd just see more of it, spread over flat land, as far as the eye can see. And you're just a small part of this seemingly endlessly repeating pattern.

Is there any greater progenitor of angst than the midwestern suburb? I'm going with no.

Indiana
The first sign that you've reached the point of no return is that the speed limit goes up to 70. But mama mia, lots of cops out this way.

Illinois
This state has Chicago in it. There's a stretch of the Chicago Skyway where the light poles are inexplicable really low. So low that they advise trucks not to use the right lane. No reason I can see at all. Just bizarre. Chicago also has open tolling. Just drive through you dummy. Don't be fooled by the signs that iPass only once you get west of Chicago. It's still the EZPass system, as a frustrated, heavily accented toll collector attempted to tell me as I waved a Sacagawea dollar in his face.

The south side of Chicago is the meanest part of town, but I didn't get to find that out first-hand because I was only in Chicago for 2 hours.

Wisconsin
Want to experience the most amazing thing in the world, non-interpersonal-relationship division? Drive through a field where they're growing mint while the air conditioner is running. It's like the platonic ideal of refreshing seriously oh my god jesus christ.

But in general Wisconsin is a really nice looking state and not nearly as flat as one would expect.

Minnesota
I-90 through Minnesota is a great mystery. It seems to go through no major cities. There's surprisingly little truck traffic. Car traffic is pretty low too. It's as though they were planning I-90 and started from both ends and got bored by the middle and just made a straight line wherever because god damn it I'm so fucking tired and hung over.

Then you take an exit and you're in this weird suburb that seems to have no city propping it up. What the?

Also windmills everywhere.

South Dakota
Half plains, half rolling hills, all tacky. Seriously. Billboards everywhere for everything. It's like the state itself is desperate for attention. After 1 billboard about Wall Drug I'm informed, after 3 I'm maybe intrigued, after dozens I'm already tired of it and I've never even been there.

Sioux Falls is a wonderful little city: visit Monk's House of Ale Repute. For those who know about such things, think about it as Dirty Truth West.

Fact: South Dakota has lenient usury laws, which attracts banks to relocate there. That's funny I thought they were there because of the fucking billboards. Or those silly president mountains (SEE BONUS FOR FUN ACTIVITY!).

Wyoming
Most all states have weight-stations on the border but guess what, Wyoming has to be all different and call them Ports of Entry. Wyoming also has oil wells, strip mining, and a town called "Crazy Woman Center".

Montana
When I think of Montana I think of nothing but empty space. But boy are you wrong Matthew! Amidst all that empty space, Billings, Bozeman, Butte, and Missoula all seem to be fairly respectable city-type things. Missoula even had what tasted like decent Thai food!

Idaho
The entire state of Idaho is just going down mountains.

Washington
If you want to find out about Washington just read some future entries from this blog. They're all about Washington maybe.

Bonus Activity!
Mt. Rushmore is a seriously impressive monument rooted in a deep-seated paranoia that we the people are going to wipe ourselves out and need to clue in visiting aliens to what we looked like this and oh search here because we're putting some records in this mountainous vault with big likenesses of some dudes we thought were notable carved in some mountain above it.

Whatever!

You've been commissioned to add in two more heads to Mount Rushmore! This is a big job with big responsibilities. Who do you choose? Some ideas to get you started:
Dog and Cat
Wouldn't that just be wild? All these presidents looking stately (because they're heads (because the carving is of their heads, get it) of state, get it) and they're flanked by a cartoony dog and cartoony cat. Is that America or what?
Barack Obama and George W Bush
Is there anyone who would be entirely happy with this?
Girls who have told me they weren't interested in a relationship
Garsh how did that one get here.
Comedy and Drama Masks
Fuck why not.

28 July 2011

One last walk through UMass (Part 3)

Looks like the Grad Lounge is going to feature one of those hoop-shooting games next academic year. This place is the only bar on campus, and it's typically been a fairly chill, if very institutional-looking spot. I can only wonder what this thing is going to do for the atmosphere.

I'm not sure this place even existed the first couple of years I was at UMass. It wouldn't have mattered because I was not of age, and I wouldn't have known because, as stated before, I wasn't in the Campus Center/Student Union complex that much. The first time I remember being in the Grad Lounge was drinking before a compilers class with a friend. This became a fairly regular thing regular thing and one time caused me to be late to class.

Sometimes I'm not sure how I got there. When I came to school, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to drink. But pretty early on, I remember giving in fairly easily when told, in no uncertain terms, that I had to drink some weekend and there was nothing I could do about it. I put it off a weekend (my parents were visiting that Sunday), but the next weekend a shot of E&J brandy introduced me to the wild world of ethanol.

Back in those freshman days, a night of drinking was an event. It invariably occurred on a weekend and invariably was characterized by excess. I can think of one example that was on a Thursday and did not involve excess by any typical metric, and it did involve a smelly shoe being put in my face as I writhed on the ground in the aftermath of a disastrous half-court beerpong game. Surely an event. I remember some photos getting out on Facebook and my first visit in Framingham being characterized by some half-serious inquiries by my high school friends into whether I had become an alcoholic. And really I was drinking once a month at most. Jesus christ.

After that first year, that next year in Gorman, was I drinking even less? Had a temperance movement washed over me in pursuit of a clearly dysfunctional romance with a clearly disinterested girl? Or was I just getting high more? Because I was. My favorite sophomore drinking memory is getting trashed and some friends put on Revenge of the Clones. I remember emphatically yelling "THAT'S NOT STAR WARS THERE'S A CAR CHASE" over and over and quickly drawing the ire of just about everyone. Also I had also watched this movie while drunk freshman year I think. I've never seen this movie sober.

What the fuck did I even do as a junior except turn 21 and then everything was legit. Already talked about that one maybe. Yeah same girl (though she was mostly gone by then). I think I lost touch with my supply (before I turned 21) and started working all the time. Good fucking grades that year. Oh and I pulled on allnighter in the course of writing cycle-accurate simulator.

It was that year that I became what I had sort of dreamed of before I had come to college. By the end of high school I felt aimless and unable to get things done. Now, I was a super-motivated programmer with crazy focus. I was super-interested in what I was doing and work and pleasure ran into each other. I was closer to whom I wanted to be.

Next semester I'm in the grad lounge drinking before class. Nothing gold can stay. Except that's so hilariously not how I feel. I think I feel as though a grew past some sort of mental block. I wasn't attempting to engage in episodes of borderline problem drinking in order to achieve some sort of catharsis or outpouring of emotion, but just taking in the everyday world with a buzz. It's funny because put that way it sounds more like the way of the alcoholic than the freshman who, by a rule, only drank on the weekends. But freshman definitely had more problems. And that senior who was 10 minutes late to class that one time and feeling a little funny through the remaining hour and five minutes is someone who I feel as though I can still identify with.

But who cares, what bothers me more is that I have no idea how this transition happened so quickly.

***

If there's a hoop-shooting game in the grad lounge, can it still be a place where people go to talk? To unwind after work? Even to get there work done? Will it become a center for meatheadery?

A memorable chapter of my life was kicked off by interactions in the grad lounge. It's almost a cliche, the important events in one's life all being traceable back to a bar. An offhand comment by a coworker growing into a festering idea, that motivates a meet-up at the very same place. All because of a thematically ill-defined institutional space. P.S. This story did not end as hoped.

But somehow, if someone had just beat their bro's record and was all OOOOOOHHHHHHH YEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH, the whole adventure could have been nipped in the bud. We're a product of the most minute details of our environment and that's why I needed one last walk through UMass.

23 July 2011

One last walk through UMass (Part 2)

I ended suddenly and awkwardly because I received an opportunity that few people do. I can't sell out those who gave it to me, so any discussion must take place out of band. But on that note. the Chadbourne thread will need to be picked up later, because now I'm in Southwest and in another state of mind.

The first time I was in Southwest, it was my world. I was fortunate enough to have a room where people would congregate for all variety of reasons: from homework to movies, to video games, to just chatting. And for many of the people who lived there, that was their world. It was my world too. My then-roommate  still considers this time to be one of the most noteworthy and energetic times in his life. There was a lot going on, and quite frankly some interpersonal drama. I used to feel the same way, but now when I look back at it, I can't.

I feel as though I was so ignorant then to what was occurring outside of the bounds of the 15th floor of Washington dorm. My life involved hanging out there, going to various classroom buildings, and going to eat at the dining hall right outside (until they closed it for renovations, in which case it became a grueling 3 minute walk to get food). I had no idea the nature of the campus and no interest in finding out. I was perfectly content in this little sphere.

Is there a problem with being perfectly content with such a parochial existence? Not really. But I feel like it's fundamentally limiting, because who knows what bigger and better things exist outside of it. Maybe there aren't any, but doesn't it behoove us to find out? That didn't occur to freshman me.

I remember one thing that did bring us outside of the sphere was we played pool in the Student Union basement one day. I think it was a weekend where few people were around. I went with my roommate and four other friends, two of whom had smoked weed just before. I was on the team with the two smokers and we frequently tried to go out of turn and otherwise not care about the rules and cause havoc. This didn't seem to go over well with the other team, who I christened as the 'team uptight' to our 'team relaxed'. These names seemed to go over even worse. But after all, isn't it only the uptight who desire strict adherence to the rules. Maybe not. Afterward, I chased a duck around on the Student Union lawn and now that I mention that, I remember now another time walking around the pond with some people and discussing not desiring having children. I was told I would make a good father. Maybe I got out a little more that I thought I did.

One last walk through UMass (Part 1)

I can still get on the UMASS wireless network. I wonder how long that lasts. Currently, I'm sitting outside the Student Union. It's quiet out here, the occasional car and confused-looking driver slowly make their way down the pedestrian path that is serving as the detour as they tear up Hicks Way to do electrical work for the new honors residential complex. No one else sitting here, which is almost unheard of during the school year. But that's summer in Amherst.

I started sitting here maybe my second semester as a graduate student. View's superb, there's a ton of foot traffic and activity and there are trees to shield you from feeling like you're right in the thick of it. The fountains in the pond are nice too, these days. There's a nice constant sound of splashing water. How I came to sit here I think came from a grad students' antsiness. A constant feeling of 'how am I going to accomplish this' that lends itself to long walks through the heart of campus, hoping to gain some sense of inspiration, but more than that a distraction from the sterile office environment. A comrade would sit here, and sometimes I'd catch him here and we'd chill. Sometimes I'd just sit here by myself, usually with my laptop and let the benchmarks run while I watched the girls and the fountains.

But I always had a sense of being misplaced here. Being some child walking onto the set of a movie with a fan-screaming laptop. I hate to put people in groups, but there was a sense never stated by constantly inferred (and maybe not even implied) that to be here you needed to care more about politics or organic food than I ever could. Or at least dressing like it? Is this unfair? Yeah, probably really. Maybe it's more of a mindset thing. Did I not develop some fundamental characteristic that would allow be to not feel like an outsider as I watched the fountains and the girls, and talked to people who I felt like I was never quite on the same footing as.

Today I came over here as via upper central. I parked in blue lot 29, where I would park when I would visit Chadbourne as a grad student. I miss that dorm, I really do, which aside from a friend living there is I think the reason why I tried to make it back so often. By first semester there was not so hot. I had a huge single room on the top floor with a beautiful pitched roof and dormer. But there was no sense of community and I spent most of my time down the hill in Gorman. What even happened that semester? I turned 21 and spent the night in my dorm room cussing out a girl (not to her face) and playing Mario Kart. Supertime radio. Random car rides in the dead of night. I think this way the semester where I started to relax a little, where relaxing is in this case defined by deviating from a more strict routine. But still a forgettable one.

Two semesters later I found myself in Chadbourne again and my primary complaint is that I worked too much, but fuck I could say that about the whole time I was here. Is mini-baseball the the defining element of that year? What is there to recruiting people from throughout the dorm, taking them to an abandoned storage room, and hitting a squishy globe ball with a souvenir Lowell Spinners bat. Some sort of quirky sense of joy.

17 July 2011

A fact about my dad

My dad calls growlers of beer 'groliers'. He presumably does this because of a CD that came with a computer that he bought in 1995 called the The New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia.

11 June 2011

spec script for the hit fox drama house

patient's friend: you're an ass
patient: you're an ass hngnngngngnng (this is them falling over)
foreman: you're an ass
chase: you're an ass
house: you're an ass
wilson: you're an ass
cuddy: you're an ass
wilson: you're an ass
house: you're an ass
thirteen: you're an ass
taub: you're an ass
thirteen you're an ass
house: you're an ass
patient: you're an ass
thirteen: you're an ass
chase: you're an ass
house: you're an ass
taub: you're an ass

FIN

08 June 2011

Things to Do Before Going to Seattle

Suggestions welcome, subject to expansion.


Framingham
  • Callahan Park
  • Lunch buffet at Welcome Fine Indian Cuisine
  • Waverly Market sub
  • Pub crawl?
  • Dosa Temple!!!! (this is actually Ashland)

Boston/Greater Boston
  • Pizza/lamb/sausage at Santarpio's
  • Pupusa tour in East Boston
  • All subway lines, end to end
  • Harbor beaches
  • Futures at Fenway (Happening too late this year. Jerks!)
  • PawSox
  • CHICKEN LOU!

Amherst Area
  • Paper City Brewery
  • Trails??
  • Puffers Pond
  • Library sub-basement
  • Amherst College Natural History Museum

New England
  • Magic Hat Brewery

who broke my really long labels (or are they tags??)

oh blog i'm sorry i've let this happen to you

25 April 2011

Dead men tell no tales

Could the ill-fated Paradis Boiler Plant be named for one Pete Paradis formerly of the UMass Physical Plant? See Welcome to Paradis (Paradise by the Dashboard Light) for the leadup to this exciting discovery.

List of photography contributions to special collections (line 585; found using site:umass.edu paradis). Date and topic seem like matches!

Possible wife's obit, possibly revealing his full name (found using "pete paradis" amherst).

Is this our Pete: a mech engineer licensed in Amherst!?

Too tenuous? Also anyone can be a detective on the internet (no creepo).

12 April 2011

Yup

Definitely had a dream that riot police shot Terry Francona after arguing with an umpire. Team then started attacking police with bats. In the ruckus Gary DiSarcina strangled someone to death.

I decided that I didn't want to watch baseball anymore.

11 April 2011

Trying

Yesterday I played a little game of catch with my roommate. For the first time this season, I thought it went well.

Today I took two catchable balls right off the head. One on each side. This would be really cute if I were four.

Why am I trying?

07 April 2011

Matt Laquidara Presests: Great Name Report

Today's award goes to Mariners minor leaguer Jetsy Extrano.

03 April 2011

PROJECT X DECLASSIFIED

THE ABOVE IS TANGIBLE GAIN REALIZED FROM 'PROJECT X'.

WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING:
"it's like i had only heretofore known of the dog that was perpetually in love but this dog is caught in the act of falling in love"
"sick"
BENEFIT TO SOCIETY
The fuckityo.com blog has become your #1 source for heart eye dog gifs. 

19 March 2011

A critique of statistics in televised baseball

Baseball traditionalists (who don't mind me speaking for them, I checked) are quick to decry the proliferation advanced baseball statistics, claiming that paying too much attention to the numbers detracts from the all-important human element of the game. Nevertheless, watching a television broadcast of a baseball game reveals that numbers are already commonplace in the game viewing experience. Unfortunately, these numbers are poorly chosen in such that a way that they not only give misconceptions of a player's performance, they prevent the statistically inclined viewer from drawing conclusions. At the same time, though advanced statistics that map very well to player value do exist, simply transitioning to these numbers in a typical TV broadcast of a game would be nothing short of disastrous. Some sort of compromise must be made.

What do we want out of baseball statistics?
Imagine going to an arbitrary college baseball field and watching a game between two teams with which you have no familiarity. You see certain players playing and based on their single game performance you are forced to make a decision on the value that these players have in terms in winning baseball games. If you go to multiple games and collect a larger sample, you will gain more confidence in your evaluation of the players. You might even be able to see every single game. At the same time, you're liable to forget older or less dramatic events in favor of more recent or exciting ones, which will mislead your evaluation of players. Therein lies the value of statistics.  They give a partial summary of the immense of data required to describe the game of baseball. The fact that television stations present statistics, at their expense, throughout baseball games demonstrates that viewers do value them.

It's important that statistics tell us the data that is beneficial to the people to whom it is being presented. Because baseball is fundamentally entertainment, it's important that statistics presented on television give information that enhanced our enjoyment of the game. I see these two enhancement as falling under two broad categories. Statistics should be evaluative and predictive.

Evaluative statistics allow judgments to be made about players. They allow the differentiation of a fundamentally bad player and a bad performance. They are enjoyable seemingly because they allow the assignment of individual responsibility to players for the fortune of the overall team. Predictive statements allow expectations to be made about the future performance of players. There is seemingly some enjoyment that is derived from both knowing a team's chances of victory and by players defying the predictions that have been established from their past performances.

In addition, for a general audience, brevity is important in evaluative and predictive statistics. The statistics should not be far removed from the atomic events that viewers can readily see. While more nuanced statistics can be more accurate and certainly have a place, it is important not to lose an audience that is not willing to invest time into deriving statistics.

What do we get out of the baseball statistics currently seen on TV?
During a recent spring training game between the Red Sox and Pirates, I took notes of the statistics that were presented on the screen. In this post I am limiting discussion of offensive statistics. I watched the game on NESN, which presented the following statistics for each plate appearance:
  • Batting average
  • Home runs
  • Runs batted in
In addition, at the opening of the game, lineups were presented listing the batting average of every player. With one player per team given an additional box with other ancillary statistics chosen to highlight some element of the player's performance.

From an evaluative standpoint it's important to understand how each of these statistics is computed and what it signifies.

Batting average is a player's hits divided by at bats. The concept of an 'at bat' is not entirely intuitive as it is not inclusive of plate appearances that end in a walk, hit by pitch, sacrifice, or obstruction. Thus batting average is somewhat post-hoc, it's impossible to know if a plate appearance will be an at bat until it is over. Thus, the statistics signifies the hitter's ability to get a hit, all hits being equal, in plate appearance that end it certain outcomes.

Home runs are simply a count of a player's home runs. Showing this statistic attempts to give insight into a players ability to hit for power. RBIs are a count of runs that have stored as a result of a current hit's actions, with some exclusions. These attempt to give some insight into a player's overall value to the team, as scoring runs is seen as the principle objective of the game.

All these statistics are fairly brief, but how accurate are they at describing player value. To do this, look at the common outcomes that can become of a plate appearance.
  • Walk
  • Single
  • Double
  • Triple
  • Home Run
  • Sacrifice
  • Non-sacrifice out
The statistics that are shown give us a rubric to evaluate these events. That is to say that depending on the outcome of the at bat, there is a major change is these numbers, causing our perception of the player to change. Singles, doubles, and triples have some value m, as they all cause an equal rise in batting average. Home runs have some value n that strictly exceeds m as it both increments the home run counter and ups batting average. Both of these may also increase the RBI counter, but the increase is dependent on the runners on base. Because batting average is based on at bats and not plate appearances, walks are essentially valueless, as they have no effect, unless the bases are loaded, in which case they update the RBI counter. Sacrifices, similarly, may increase the number of RBIs while leaving the other statistics untouched. Other outs bring down the batting average counter.

It is clear to see that the statistics chosen for display on television give us some order of favorableness of plate appearance outcomes. While it is obvious that someone watching an game in progress will know that a double is better than a single, the statistics shown give no way of knowing this. Thus the choice of statistics fails in terms of evaluative ability. The situation is even more dire when consider knowledge gleaned from advanced statistics.

What do we get out of advanced statistics?
In The Book Tom Tango et. al. gives run values for the events above. These say that for an event such as a single, across a historical summary of all times in the past where a single was hit, how much did it increase the likelihood of runs being scored in inning, weighted by the amount of runs. The computation is fairly intense but standing on its own, it provides a good benchmark of the relative values of events, as the offensive objective of baseball is run scoring.

  • Walk .323
  • Single .475
  • Double .776
  • Triple 1.070
  • Home Run 1.397
  • Sacrifice -.20
  • Any out* -.299
*These include sacrifices, so we know that all non-sacrifice outs is lower. I don't have information for non-sacrifice outs readily available. The Book provides a much more detailed breakdown of events and their run values.

If we accept that baseball is fairly static over time, we have good way of, within a reasonable bound, assigning value to the events that can occur during a plate appearance. Tango defines wOBA to be sum the outcomes of a players' plate weighted by their run values divided by the number of plate appearances. wOBA is designed to correlate with the runs created from events and it is shown to generally be stable year to year. Thus wOBA seems to match both the evaluative and predictive criteria.

Thus it seems reasonable to replace the batting average, homerun, RBI cobination with wOBA, as the former clearly  misrepresents the relative values of events. But wOBA fails the brevity criterion. While the weights for each event do have a logical basis, explaining and calculating them briefly is largely impractical and presenting them without explanation gives them the appearance of 'magic numbers'. While those who bring a posses a knowledge  of advanced statistics would be overjoyed to see wOBA on television over the grossly misrepresentative trio seen today, the alienation of those whose do not would be highly unreasonable.

Where is the middle ground?
I feel as though in a situation such as this, where two ultimately harmful options exist, the best course of action is to do no harm. Presenting batting average, home runs, and RBIs is harmful in that it presents a false perception of a player's value. Presenting wOBA is harmful in even though it assignments values for properly, it is far enough removed from the atomic events of the game that it is hard to understand.

The solution may be not to assign value at all, but merely show the outcome of every plate appearance of a player and allow the user to assign value based on their perception of the game. While a traditional, uninformed viewer is still likely to undervalue walks, they are still likely to give it more than the negligible value that it is presented as having in the current statistical trio. The problem is a concise representation of the out come of every plate appearance, where a full season may be in excess of 600 for an everyday player.

An idea I've thought about is representing a player's season with a box the size of the typical batting statistics display, but having varyingly colored regions based on plate appearance outcome. Hits, for example, could all be some shade of blue with varying intensity for hit type. These regions would be overlaid with the percentage of total plate appearances. Thus instead of talking about a .257 hitter or having a .400 wOBA, people would talk about 33% hitters, 10% walkers, or 12% doublers. In high definition, this sort of visual-based system could be feasible, though standard definition might be a stretch. The other significant issue is resistance to any sort of change. Batting average, home runs, and RBIs are insufficient and deceptive and furthermore they are statistics in the same way that wOBA is. Percentages of plate appearance outcomes are arguably even easier to understand than batting average, but they are unfamiliar and nontraditional; they don't sound like what baseball statistics have always sounded like.

Baseball has changed over time, but an element of tradition and conservatism runs through its psyche. Though since the 80s new ways and more complicated ways of looking at baseball have emerged and gained considerable traction, they remain fringe elements largely isolated from television broadcasts of baseball and likely always will be. It would take a daring broadcaster to break from tradition, but should one try, the best approach might be to break even different ground: rather present differently processed statistics, presents stats in their most raw unprocessed forms.

Sidebar: OBP + SLG
On base percentage (OBP) and slugging (SLG), are two relatively simple measures that, when combined and adjusted by a linear factor, come close to approximating wOBA. On base percentage is simple taking all plate appearances that result in getting on base and dividing them by total plate appearances. Slugging is essentially batting average, but with singles having a weight of 1, doubles 2, triples 3, and home runs 4. Clearly this is both easier to understand than wOBA and more accurate than the batting average, home run, RBI trio.

Fundamentally it's distasteful to both groups. Its weightings, and thus the value judgment that it makes on players, are less accurate than that of wOBA. Plus when presented in its added form, two unlike things are being combined, giving it somewhat of the appearance of a magic number.

OBP and SLG do have some representation in mainstream television broadcasting. But they are never in the forefront, possibly mentioned or shown when a single player is being discussed in great detail. Perhaps one day OBP and SLG will be shown as a peer with batting average. This is of course not ideal, as walks will still be undervalued (they adjust only two of the three stats while a single hit adjusts all three). Nevertheless, showing them does lessen the extent of the incorrect value judgment that statistics on television currently provide.

17 March 2011

Screech (the procrastinator)

Today I was walking around campus I saw a young woman running towards a bus. "Waaait" she yelled. Then she yelled it louder. Then she let out an absolutely bloodcurdling screech vaguely resembling it:

Weeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clearly public transit exists only to serve her, so I hope she made it because otherwise what a waste!

It hurt my ears.

Charm

The audio hardware in this computer (7 year old Apple iBook running linux)is not supported really well. The output is only out of the left speaker and it sounds about roughly the same quality as hold music you'd hear over the phone.

And I like it that way.

13 March 2011

Try this in your car (underpowered alternators?)

  1. Be driving at night in a car with power windows, windows up.
  2. Have headlights on. (You can stop reading now and you'll be more safe, but not fully informed.)
  3. Push and hold the switches to roll up the driver and front passenger windows.
  4. Observe significant dim of headlights.
Please tell me if this works for you.

In this post we discuss a ditty wherein a man resembles a woman

If you enjoy the song "Dude looks like a lady" please line up for reeducation.

It is our hope that we can successfully forget this song ever happened and radio will be that much more tolerable.

Thanks,
The Management

09 March 2011

Peanuts

I've had two peanuts (from the Moan and Dove) in the driver's side door console of my car since early December. Today I finally disposed of them by throwing them as hard as I could.

Good riddance.

22 February 2011

"Building OCD" sufferer has nerdgasm

Mark elements of the UMass campus you do and don't like. I've already had a crack at it. You can only mark three of each per session, but you can just go at it as many times as you want.

http://www.umass.edu/cp/sites/cp/apps/places/index.html

16 February 2011

First brew log

Brown porter. I'm making this from this kit.  I'm not sure what standing kits have in the "home brewing community", but my dad has been using them for years and people seem to like his beer (myself included) so we'll see.

15 January
13:00 First problem: can't get cover off of fermenting bucket. Holy fucking shit!
13:40 Cover is off, everything sanitized, grains steeping. I need to go back to the gym.
15:05 Malt and bittering hops in and boiling away. 40 minutes until yeast hydration.
My dad has been skyping in during this process to offer advice and has told me that this morning he put his underwear on the dog's head just to see what she would do. Dog didn't care.
15: 55 Boil almost done, pretty uneventful. But it turns out that steam was condensing on the fume hood about my stove and dripping back in. Is my beer being to taste like grease?
Check out this brew.
16:11 This stuff looks pretty nasty. Waiting for it to cool.
16:37 Stuff is all mixed up, sealed, and put away in the closet. Autopsy of the pot looks like maybe the mixing wasn't that great, a fair amount of malty looking shit looking like it didn't fully go into solution. Maybe more water next time around; the pot could have handled it.
19 January
00:42: No yeast activity. Not good. Probably going to give it another shot of yeast tomorrow if I remember to swing over to Noho.
30 January
Everything is in bottles and I have nothing to say. 
16 February
So I've tried the beer. Actually I tried it last Friday too, but that was maybe a little early. Today's bottle had a decent amount of carbonation. Pouring it fast resulted in a decent, if ephemeral head. The taste seems good, maybe with a little too much of a 'bite'. I wonder how much alcohol is in it though: I regret not taking any measurements during the process. I think it's time to round up some victims!!

14 February 2011

Come on take a little walk with me baby, and tell me _whom_ do you love

Valentine's Day. Named after St. Valentine the crusader, noted destroyer of heliocentrists. In our modern times, this holiday is mainly celebrated by mothers mailing their grown children boxes of candy (right?).

Here at fuckityo.com, whether you're chronically single or happily married or anywhere in between, we have a long tradition of celebrating Valentine's Day. Last year, we looked at the parallels between an old relationship and a weird vague happenstance. This year, though the situation is equally grim, I'm fresh out of parallels and not really in the mood for making a concerted effort towards any great thoughts.

So we're going to do the next best thing.

We're going to correct George Thorogood. It's whom, dude. It's an object.

Happy Valentine's Day, you fucks!

08 February 2011

"Computers are useless. They can only give answers" - Pablo Picasso

Size letters are meaningless in "print" command.

???
(emphasis added)

05 February 2011

Required reading if you want to be my friend

When I was a freshman, there was ZooMassDrunks.com. It was a website to post stories of the drunken escapades that it was the moral and legal obligation of every UMass student to engage in. There was one in particular that was particularly awesome about a man drunk on love, life, and perhaps Busch Lite.

But there was so much going on that year, eventually the site was forgotten about. And then disaster struck, someone remembered the story but the site was long gone.

And then Ilya found it in a folder of images! And did the memories ever flow back.


Now I share it with you. Is behavior like this truly to be celebrated? That is not for us mortals to decide.

Sometimes I think: the drinking age

One of the things I've realized about UMass after 6 years is that the university has claimed to clean up its drinking image, but has largely pushed it off campus. Sometimes I work late on Friday nights (boo) or even come into the lab on an occasional Saturday (boo). Driving home on those nights, the crowds of people coming and going from parties at off-campus apartment complex are nothing short of incredible. It's obvious that they are going to parties to drink. Then they're walking on fairly busy streets, sometimes extremely drunk, to get back to campus.

It's not hard to drink on campus either. If you can acquire alcohol, it's easy to get a small group of people together and drink in a dorm room. That's what I would do. And at times my drinking was downright ridiculous.

I think that both of these scenarios are problematic. Typically I'm wont to favor scenarios with minimal regulation of anything (because I turned out all right of course), but at the same time I think it's favorable, in general, for people to drink, initially at least, in public rather than in private. Furthermore, taking the uncompromising libertarian attitude towards alcohol seems so impractical for getting anything done.

The Graduated Drinking Age
  • At 21 the rules are exactly as they are now.
  • At 18 you can be served alcohol at a licensed bar or restaurant.
  • At 16 you can be served alcohol at a bar or restaurant, but only with a sponsor who is over 21 and has some responsibly for the actions of the person whom they sponsor.
The idea is to slowly cultivate an attitude towards drinking. By forcing drinking to occur in public first and be explicitly served, the idea is established to learn one's limits and avoid getting into a dangerous situation.

Universities would love this, because they could establish on campus bars and make a good amount of money. College towns would love this because droves of students wouldn't be driven into off-campus parties, taking strain off of their police forces. Plus its would stop the people from walking in the road road when I'm trying to fucking drive home!

The main problem here is that I think that 21 as the drinking age is tied to federal highway money which states are loathe to give up. So I don't expect much.

14 January 2011

Anonymous commenting is now enabled

This post is about writing mean things in the comments.

13 January 2011

All children should be taught a foreign language

While English speakers refer to a 'bar' of soap the French call it a 'pain', which is literally 'bread'.

The French term for the 'AA' size battery is 'mignon' which was taught to me to mean 'cute'.

08 January 2011

Oyster Stout

This is a process with three steps.

1) "I can't really taste anything different, but it sure tastes like a good stout."
2) "Oh yeah when I drink it I can smell the beach a little!"
3) "Oh my god how much salt water did I drink??"

Buyer beware?

Blog?

Do blogs need to have content on a single theme?

Will I ever put thought into anything here again?