I cannot abide assumption, tragic misunderstanding, idiotic mistakes, or anything of that sort, especially when they run afoul of me. Be prepared for anything short of me pulling out a knife in that case, especially if I’m already stressed. And don’t you dare say you’re sorry. That could just send me across the line.
Here’s a poem I wrote in Summer 2004:
45 Degrees on Port
It is sunny.
Several families watch
For the cargo to approach.
A boat rocks
Over the horizon.
It is rainy.
There will be no sailing today.
Far beneath the waters,
A school of fish waits
For their catch for a change.
It is cloudy.
Sailors don’t know what to make
Of the white sky,
For the old saying about red skies
Never said a thing about white.
It is snowy.
No sailor has been here
For two months.
Beautiful patterns appear
On the water.
Gripping, isn’t it?
Well, since I’ve only gotten a smattering of responses, it’s not as though I’m really catering to very many people. In fact, while I’m extending my request to find out what projects you’re interested in (two posts down) for another week, I’m also taking a special sample poll, available on the right side of Da Blog, to find out if I’m even going about this the right way.
I’m a root beer guy, myself…
There are a lot of things I don’t take well. Imperfection is one of them. Brain-dead idiocy is another.
I don’t always react to such things, but if I’m already in a bad mood, I might. Generally speaking, if I lash out about it, it’s usually with a bunch of random finger gestures thrown vigorously in your direction.
If you feel threatened, don’t be. No matter how vigorous it gets, it almost never gets more extreme than that, and you’re in no danger if no one takes it to some really dumb extreme. Also, the mere act of doing that is a form of calming me down in many circumstances.
If it isn’t, though, and I don’t storm out of the room, shut up and don’t say anything that might make you look stupid. And don’t dare try and suggest you have a problem with it, that’ll just make me madder.
Because you shouldn’t have a problem with it. You shouldn’t have a problem with anything anyone does. I don’t believe there should be any one definition of “normal”, and I think people should be open-minded enough to accept anything that doesn’t kill them.
The original topic poll I refer to in various posts below is now closed with no resolution, so if the results of the new poll in the post immediately below raise too many problems with me, I’ll reopen it. Also, I’m modifying Da Blog to show 10 posts per page instead of 7, and I should be hitting 100 page views any minute now.
Of the three total responses I’ve received, I received two requests for more information on my “grandiose projects”, one of which actually contrasted it to mere coverage of sports, as though covering projects precluded covering sports.
Getting grandiose projects is a given no matter which topic gets chosen. It isn’t really a topic in itself, and I don’t know that I’m confident enough to simply lay them all on you, not to mention that I wouldn’t know where to start or what to put on or anything. (By September at the latest, you’ll have a very good view on just how grandiose my projects can get, regardless of final topic.)
So what I think I’m going to do is extend this another 24 hours, looking for some clarification as to what projects I would want to post. But I’m also instituting a new poll. Below is a list of just some projects I have and are working on. It’s far from an exhaustive list, but it’s intended to provide a list of options and provide a feel for what I mean. Tell me if you want to see any of these projects or any similar ones you want to suggest in an area of your interest.
- Ranking the presidential candidates (see the post immediately below)
- Whether Sports Watcher should continue
- Ranking America’s professional sports leagues
- A different, maybe insane, method of determining champions in certain team sports, closer to the methods used in combat sports like boxing and wrestling
- Determining the greatest movies of all time from a composite of other similar lists (I can also come up with other “greatest lists” even if they’re limited to my own opinion. Inquire within!)
- Any kind of simulated tournament, or any kind of simulated game.
- Or you can help me iron out the rules for a new sport I’m developing.
- I actually have already written some short poems and stories.
- And the proverbial much, much more!
I’m setting the deadline for this new poll for Friday night at midnight Pacific, with an option to extend if I get another dearth of replies.
I’m not really a political junkie, but I do pay a lot of attention when election season rolls around. We’re just two years away from a unique election cycle, when neither a sitting president nor vice-president will be running for president.
As with most of the things I’m intensely interested in, I have a project I’m working on for it. In this case, it’s a ranking of the potential nominees from each party based on their chances of winning the nomination. Positions on the issues play no role in this; I base it entirely on polls and fundraising.
And right now, both are failing me. The FEC’s web site doesn’t yet contain any financial data for the current election cycle. As for polling, it works very well near the top but is worthless at the very bottom.
Consider this ABC-Washington Post poll. Note that there are six Republican candidates that got 1% in the poll and three that got 0%. The sample size of Republicans is 344, so 1.72 would be the number of respondents that represents .5% of the poll, anything below which shows up here as 0%. How am I supposed to separate those three at 0% when they either got 0 or 1 person saying their name?
It gets worse. The threshhold for 1.5% would be 5.16 respondents. Therefore all those people at 1% got 2, 3, 4, or 5 respondents saying their name. I am left to assume that the poll results are sub-sorted by how many respondents said a name, but ties still exist, and worse, if they’re in alphabetical order, I don’t know which comparisons of two back-to-back candidates represent ties and which represent a different number of respondents! And it all reflects the luck of the draw! I’m ignoring margin of error in my rankings but even I can’t ignore this!
This poll was conducted on a national sample of 1000 adults. That’s how many should be polled from each party. The poll’s total sample should be closer to 2500.
Then I got an idea. Perhaps we could combine the results from several polls, thus adding to the sample size and lowering the margin of error. The chances of two polls contacting the same person are astronomical, so it’s like taking one big poll. For example, there are three similar polls from this month in the same field: the Gallup Poll has 412 Republican respondents, and the Zogby Poll has 301 Republican respondents. All have, ultimately, the same problem, but when you add their sample size together you get 344+412+301=1057 respondents in the sample. That means 5.285 respondents represent .5%, enough for some separation, weak though it may seem; meanwhile, 15.855 respondents represent 1.5%, enough to rest easy that six candidates would have at least some separation.
I would love to be the person to create this “superpoll”, which would be important far beyond this context, but unfortunately, the sort of raw data of pure numbers of respondents is treated as fairly proprietary. Either I have to get into a subscription service to get them (always for a fee) or they don’t offer it at all. Why, I’m not sure. I could guesstimate it by weighting the results of the various polls, but it’s an inexact science to say the least.
Which leaves nothing for me to work with, at least in the back of the field, but the analysis of others. I know it’s early and a lot can change, but predicting the future isn’t my priority so much as determining what’s going on right now, despite my emphasis on fundraising. Judging by polls from 2004, the sample size of polls won’t be increasing from here, though it might see a little more separation. It probably won’t get there very quickly, though – not with a field of this size.
This is an experiment that, should the topic of Da Blog ultimately fit it (and maybe even if it doesn’t), will become a regular feature every Friday. I’ll hand out my picks for the go-to sports to watch for the weekend. I choose only one game between competing games, and choose as many sports as possible within those parameters. All times PST.
12:30-3 AM: Tennis, Australian Open, 3rd round play (ESPN). Assuming you don’t need too much sleep, of course.
9-11 AM: College Basketball, Louisville @ DePaul (ESPN). Combine for a 5-4 conference record. Really just a warmup for the next two parts of the tripleheader.
11 AM-1 PM: College Basketball, Wisconsin @ Illinois (ESPN). What the hell is Wisconsin doing with a power basketball program? This is their best record in over ninety years.
1-3 PM: College Basketball, Arizona @ UCLA (FSN). Arizona’s Marcus Williams not only is a Seattle product, he went to my high school. I never saw a game, only heard of him secondhand before last year, don’t like the idea of being a fan of whatever school you went to, and loathe many of my old high school traditions with a passion, yet I still find myself following the Wildcats. (Did I mention that this is a matchup of the top two RPI teams in the country?)
4-7 PM: College Football, East-West Shrine Game (ESPN2). One of college football’s many all-star games. What exactly is it? I don’t have a clue.
7-10 PM: Tennis, Australian Open, octofinal play (ESPN2). If tennis was as huge in this country as it is in some others, networks would be falling over themselves to put this in primetime. Especially with the new and improved Andy Roddick and Serena Williams likely to show up either here or in the insomniac session.
12:30-3:30 AM: Tennis, Australian Open, octofinal play (ESPN2). Insomniac Special time!
10-11:30 AM: PBA Bowling, Dick Weber Open (ESPN). The football just barely overlaps with the basketball, so why not watch people roll really heavy balls around? Here’s one thing I might say about the PBA: When 9-spare is considered heartbreaking, maybe the competition is too good. That’s the problem with the pro versions of stuff a significant number of ordinary people do.
12-3:30 PM: NFL Football, New Orleans @ Chicago (FOX). Clearly the same teams go to the Super Bowl year after year in the NFL. Sure, 3 of the last 4 NFC champions were going into their first Super Bowls ever, but these two teams combine for a whopping 1 Super Bowl appearances. Yeah, I know, but that one appearance was only, oh, 20 years ago.
3:30-7 PM: NFL Football, New England at Indianapolis (CBS). Yes, the Colts under Manning have never been to the Super Bowl, yes, they’ve never beaten the Patriots in the playoffs, and yes, Peyton Manning is not the Manning we’re used to in these playoffs. But they’re at home!
After Football: Let two weeks of unending Super Bowl hype begin…
I was going to make a final decision on the topic of Da Blog on Friday (today, as most of you read this), but I’m instituting an extension because I just recently advertised my prior posts on the topic in the “About me” section on the right sidebar, which in turn was because 43 visitors to Da Blog have added up to one comment so far. You can now make comments until 9 PM PT (midnight ET, since New York Is The Center Of The Universe) on Sunday. (I might not collect the votes until later, though.)
You can also comment on what you want Da Blog to be about to this post. I will post a preview of what will happen if you don’t comment later on Friday. If it lines up with what you want, comment on it anyway, because I will only institute it if I get 0 acceptable comments, so even a tie only means I’ll probably institute both.
(Note that, as they say on Wikipedia, “this is not a vote”. I am ultimately the final arbiter of what I post on, and I will always dip into fields different from my primary focus. As time passes that sharp focus may fade as Da Blog becomes more general and I begin to dip into a wide variety of fields on a regular basis.)
Also, I’m switching Da Counter to show unique visitors rather than hits (which have reached the 70’s), because hits by now are a given – I’ll probably hit 100 by this time next week. I’ve gotten at least two hits for at least the past seven days and have been stabilizing at 4 a day recently. Unless the counter is misinterpreting people without cookies as separate people, which can’t be the whole truth, most of these people appear to be first timers. Which, you know, is good for a number of reasons, but it is also kinda bad, because now only 40% of my hits over the life of Da Blog are repeat customers. Which makes me worried that people are stopping by but aren’t intrigued enough to come back! Which comes back to my blog topic poll, where you can give them a reason to come back.
You might think someone as abrasive as me wouldn’t last ten seconds with a roommate, and certainly I tried to get a room to myself when I signed up. But Seattle University has a bit of a crunch for space throughout the campus, and no matter how strong a case I might have had, I didn’t stand a chance. So I’ve had a roommate for the course of this year.
It’s gone fairly well, but the roommate just left Saturday. I don’t think I drove him away; I think there’s a lot of reassignment going on. For now, though, I have a room to myself.
Perhaps not all that interesting, but I do intend to add the latest updates in my own life to Da Blog when events warrant…
This will probably seem completely swerve-y compared to the posts so far, but it could look completely in place compared to what could come later, even if the topic eventually chosen has nothing to do with sports. (Keep commenting on the post below this one!) If your eyes completely glaze over at this stuff, please skip past it to the posts below.
ESPN has an intriguing story on Portland, Oregon’s efforts to land a major league baseball team, namely, the Florida Marlins, who are currently engaged in stadium woes. The case is compelling, with a stadium deal on the table, and one of the largest markets without an MLB team. Of the four traditional major sports, Portland holds only one, the NBA’s Trail Blazers; it’s the largest metropolitan area in the 2000 Census with but one team from the traditional four major sports, and ranked behind only San Diego for having two or fewer. (The Census has since broadened its definition of a metro area, splitting Baltimore from Washington and nonsensically splitting Riverside and San Bernardino counties from the LA area into its own metro area that tops all three.) According to the article, one research group ranked Portland behind only New York and LA for having the highest ratio of population to traditional big four teams.
On both ratio and being the largest market with either only an NBA team or no baseball team, Portland is behind Orlando and Sacramento on Nielsen’s list of TV markets. But both those markets are far closer to their natural alternative alliegiance (Tampa Bay and the SF Bay Area, respectively) than Portland is to Seattle, the nearest MLB team.
Las Vegas, Charlotte, and San Antonio are also mentioned as expressing interest, and Northern New Jersey (which would make MLB join the NHL as the only even remotely prominent leagues with three teams in one market), Orlando, and Norfolk/Hampton Roads are also flirted with. Under the old Census definition, Hampton Roads is the largest metro area without any traditional major league team, with Las Vegas right behind, but both have their problems (in Vegas’ case, the whole gambling thing). Connecticut leads the list of Nielsen markets, though it does have the WNBA’s Sun, followed by West Palm Beach, Grand Rapids (who have the Arena Football League’s Rampage), Birmingham AL, Harrisburg PA, Hampton Roads, and Las Vegas.
The Marlins are not the only team with stadium woes. The NHL’s Penguins are also haggling over stadiums and may be out of Pittsburgh next year. Kansas City is considered the front-runner, but Houston is the States’ largest old-definition metro area and largest Nielsen market without an NHL team (and have reportedly expressed interest), though it’s very south and the league’s southern movement is seen as to blame for its recent woes. Seattle follows close behind in both; though there’s theoretically an attraction with the Vancouver Canucks, being a Seattleite myself I don’t see it, though one difference with baseball in Portland is we don’t get the Canucks on TV. Quebec City and ex-NHL city Winnepeg are Canadian metro areas 7 and 8; the Canadian NHL teams line up with the top 6 metro areas exactly.
Seattle itself is the center of stadium woes in the NBA, as the Sonics have gotten fed up with their stadium, a decade old and made antique by the replacement of the Kingdome with new baseball and football stadiums. Spice was added to the fire when a group of investors from Oklahoma City bought the team; the New Orleans Hornets have done amazingly well in exile in the OKC, and the city has been angling for an NBA team (and the Penguins if they can’t get it). A move out of Seattle, the largest market with stadium woes I’ve talked about so far and with much more fan loyalty than in South Beach, would be a “Cleveland Browns” situation if there ever was one. The NBA has a history of being the only game in town; Orlando, Sacramento, Portland, and San Antonio boast NBA teams as their only traditional major league teams. But it doesn’t have more teams than those others, so they have to come from somewhere: San Diego and St. Louis are the largest old-definition metro areas without NBA teams, and in St. Louis’ case it’s the only traditional major league they’re missing. The STL ranks only behind Tampa Bay (another market with everything but the NBA) in Nielsen markets, followed by yet another MLB-NFL-NHL market, Pittsburgh (though that may not be for long, of course!), and finally Baltimore.
The NFL, of course, has the “LA Gap”, and like baseball, by the old definition Portland is the largest metro area without a team other than LA. Also like baseball, the NFL has Orlando and Sacramento as the only Nielsen markets ahead of Portland. The NFL, though, has teams in curiously small markets like Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Green Bay; they make up for it with a lack of a team in Milwaukee, no team in LA, and only one team in Chicago (baseball is the only traditional major league with two Chicago teams).
I have a few things I’d like to catch up with at this moment.
First, the counter. No, there have not been 34 visitors to Da Blog over the last week. I could set it to display the number of unique users, but I think the number of 13 that would appear is a little low. Take it all with a grain of salt.
Second and more importantly, I’m starting to worry that my lengthy third post is obscuring the first post for all of the people who are discovering Da Blog suddenly. That means missing the backbone of that third post, but it also obscures something else. The posts I have now aren’t really emblematic of me (obviously), or of what I envision Da Blog becoming. While some blogs are little more than diaries and only a few blogs go beyond personal, a lot of blogs comment not only on happenings in life, but in whatever else interests the person who posts them. People often talk about their thoughts on whatever they feel like saving space on their blog for, and sometimes dedicate their entire blog to a single subject.
I want to talk about me, of course, but I also want to talk about more than me. And while I have no shortage of things I’m already interested in, I’d like to hear your suggestions. Is there something out there that’s going unblogged? Something you’d like to hear my thoughts on? Considering the likelihood that I may have something insanely complex that would constitute a radical new idea, maybe you’d like to see that, and gain a new perspective? Or maybe I’m just begging for something that would hook the most people into making Da Blog a destination. Or, since there’s a positive spin for anything, maybe I’m trying to gauge the interests of my audience so I can tailor what I write to them.
What are you interested in? While you’re here, feel free to leave a comment and let me know. If you don’t have a Google/Blogger account and “Other” doesn’t work for you for some reason, post anonymously; you can still identify yourself in the body of the post.