Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tigers and doubt

If I may wax philosophical for a moment:

There are certain subjects that are not appropriate objects of doubt. For example, I don't think it makes a lot of sense to doubt one's own existence: if you don't exists, what's doing the doubting?

If I may wax philosophical about large jungle cats for a moment:

Here's a quote from MSNBC's article about the recent tiger escape/attack at the San Francisco Zoo:

Experts doubt tiger could have leapt

One zoo official insisted the tiger did not get out through an open door and must have climbed or leaped out. But Jack Hanna, former director of the Columbus Zoo, said such a leap would be an unbelievable feat and “virtually impossible.”

Instead, he speculated that visitors could have been fooling around and might have taunted the animal and perhaps even helped it get out by, say, putting a board in the moat.

Ron Magill, a spokesman at the Miami Metro Zoo, said it was unlikely a zoo tiger could make such a leap, even with a running start.

“Captive tigers aren’t nearly in the kind of shape that wild tigers have to be in to survive,” he said. He said taunting can definitely make an animal more aggressive, but “whether it makes it more likely to get out of an exhibit is purely speculative.”


See, if your zoo finishes building its tiger enclosure and you take a look at it and there's doubt around the issue of whether or not it will, in fact, adequately contain the tiger, you know what: go back and redesign the tiger enclosure. Not an appropriate subject for doubt, zookeepers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Mitchell Retort

Disorganized reactions to a first skimming of the Mitchell Report:

  • It's short on new, revelatory information. I'd be a embarrassed to have turned up so little we didn't already know after 20 months worth of work and $20 million.
  • Roger Clemens has apparently been a bawdy little monkey. ESPN.com is reporting that there are over 9 pages of material specifically relating to him and 82 references to him by name.
  • Human growth hormone appears to have performed as advertised for Mo Vaughn.
  • As Rotoworld notes, HGH apparently does not help you throw to first base.
  • The willful turning a blind eye in the face of overwhelming and obvious steroid use by players on the part of ownership and management is really reprehensible. Giant's GM Brian Sabean deserves particular dishonorable mention in this regard. See the section on Barry Bonds starting on page 121 of the report.
  • Hey baseball teams, here's a suggestion -- when someone applies for a job with your organization as an athletic trainer or wishes to use your facilities while working with one of your players in the capacity of an athletic trainer, how about verifying that he is, in fact, a qualified athletic trainer and not a seedy gym rat who struggled to make the same middle school baseball team as your star player.
  • With all the Mets of the early 90s on steroids, how come they sucked so bad?
  • Players named in the report involved in trades or signing contracts in the last two weeks: Miguel Tejada (traded from Baltimore to Houston), Jose Guillen (signed with Kansas City), Andy Pettitte (signed with Yankees), Paul Lo Duca (signed with Washington), Eric Gagne (signed with Brewers). Nook Logan was also non-tendered by Washington on Wednesday.



Thanks to Mike Stein for those last two points.

Here are two marginally more organized thoughts:

1) Having reviewed the report, I think it was improper for Mitchell to have included player names, given the nature and quantity of evidence included and the level of cooperation he received from the MLBPA and its members. To be clear, I don't think it's improper or unfair towards the players who were named: they made their beds and now they need to lie in them. Mostly, I think it's unfair to the public by virtue of the impression that it creates.

The MLBPA clearly decided that its members were not going to cooperate with the investigation and, for the most part, they didn't. This means the only players who were implicated in the report were those who could be fingered by sources outside of the MLBPA that Mitchell et al were able to get in touch with. On any realistic reckoning, this surely represents only a minority of players who used performance-enhancing drugs. In the interest of justice and perspective, I think this fact needs to be made abundantly clear, because if you don't do so, it contributes to...

2) The report succeeding in doing a pretty clever job of what I'm sure MLB would like very much for it to do: laying the groundwork for moving past the issue. Less than half of the 88 players mentioned in the report are still in the majors, and all of the specific incidents described took place 2 or more years ago. It's easy for baseball to spin this in such a way as to suggest that the problem isn't really an ongoing one (or has at least been greatly diminished).

But if you read between the lines, you get a sense of the culture of indifference (if not tacit support) that pervades baseball when it comes to performance-enhancing substances. There are so many stories of fellow players, clubhouse employees, training staff and management choosing to ignore evidence of the use of banned substances (the nonsense at the Giants being the most clear example). That just doesn't happen unless their use is simultaneously widespread, widely accepted and deeply entrenched. You're not going to convince me that in a few short years, that type of culture has been totally turned around, especially when the current drug of choice, HGH, can't be detected by available testing methods.

Monday, December 10, 2007

MLB Cookbook

In what is sure to be Bud Selig's finest moment as Commissioner, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are proud to announce the release of Don Zimmer's Guide to Healthy Eating: A Baseball Cookbook.

Selig proudly announced that all 32 teams contributed recipes for the book, but admitted that only about 8 recipes had any realistic chance of being made coming out of Spring Training.

"We share our revenue, and, now, we share our recipes," Selig said. "Revenues and recipes: everyone wins. This will put fans back in the seats around their kitchen tables and allow small market clubs to regularly compete with the big boys, at least gastronomically speaking."

MLB also took the opportunity to announce that Rachel Ray will be the new spokesperson for baseball, following the departure of equally obvious choice, Dane Cook. Ray said she was excited about the opportunity.

"MLB and EVOO: I live for this!" she added.

A selection of the recipes found in the 162-page book follows:

Appetizers:
Blum-in Onion (Astros)
McCann-ed Tomato Soup with Chippered Hampton and Crab (Braves)
Casey Blaked Goat Cheese Dip with Carmona-lized Onions and Figs (Indians)
Split Pea-vy Soup (Padres)

Main Course:
Chicken Catch-a-Torre (Dodgers)
Baked Zito with Dur-ham and sausage in a creamy, clear sauce (Giants)
Spaghetti Colonese (Angels)
Slowey Cooked Chicken with Silva-red Almonds (Twins)
French Bread Piazza (submitted by the A's, but nobody wants to claim it anymore)
Cedar Plank Salomon Torres over Turnbowtie Pasta (Brewers)
Eggplant Rolen-tini (Cardinals)
Chicken/Beef Ojedas (Diamondbacks)
Spotted Dickey (Mariners)
Seared Hermidatlantic Marlin with Byung-Hyun Kim Chee (Marlins)
Pork Lowe Maine (Mets) (caution: small morsels may present choking hazard!)
Beef Kouzmanoff (Padres)
Riccota-stuffed Cattalan-oni with Saltalamacchia and Pepper crust (Rangers)
Chopped Matsui (Yankees)
Pasta Prima Rivera (Yankees)
Rocky Mountain Oysters in Holliday-aise Sauce (Rockies)
Duckworth a l'Orange and Sweet-ney Corn Pozole (Royals)

Sides:
Brocail-i and Cheese (Astros)
Carl Craw-fish Etouffee (Rays)

Desserts:
Rum Rai-Zaun Pie (Blue Jays)
Lemon Harang Pie (Reds)
Felix Pie (Cubs)
Assortment of Cream Huffs (Orioles)
Chocolate Lowell-ipops with Cinnamon Crisps (Red Sox)
Pudge Fudge with G-Inge-r-swirled Ice Cream (Tigers)
Chocolate Chip Mientkiewicz Ice Cream (Yankees)

Beverages:
Wily Mo Pena Colada (Nationals)
Dye-t Koner-coke (White Sox)
Mountain Dewitt (Orioles)
Sunkist Pete Orr-ange (Braves)

We also do breakfast!
Green Eggs and Hamels (Phillies)
Jason Bay-gel and Cream Cheese (Pirates)
Hash brown Po-theriots (Cubs)

Don Zimmer's Guide to Healthy Eating: A Baseball Cookbook is available wherever books are sold and features a forward by Sidney Ponson.

-- Thanks to OBFBL members Paul Cardillo, Mike Stein and Bill Barker.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I Topped This!

Over the summer, my improv group friends and I made some videos for the Heinz Top This commercial challenge and then completely failed to hear anything about them again. (I happened to think our videos were pretty darn funny, but whatever).

Today in the mail, I received a plain brown package from "MyHeinz.com". Inside was a postcard saying:

Your debut as a director in the Heinz "Top This" Challenge helped to make our commercial campaign such a huge hit that audiences everywhere are demanding more!



They go on to talk about their new contest starting December 14th where they're offering another $57,000 prize.

But also inside the box was this little item:


I think that's pretty rad.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Amazing statistic

On the second page of an article in today's Slate magazine about why the government should pay you to lose weight, there's an absolutely amazing statistic quoted from a study of heroin addicts:

One famous study asked heroin addicts and nonaddicts to tell a story by completing the following sentence: "I woke up this morning and I thought about the future and I thought ..." On average, nonaddicts described a future that was 4.7 years away, whereas the addicts described a future that was just nine days away.


What a profoundly telling example of short-term, concrete-bound thinking.

The really interesting question is does the heroin addiction cause the short-term mentality or does a propensity towards short-term thinking lead to heroin addiction?

Friday, November 30, 2007

No. 8 best play of all time: No. 1 experience

I'm a huge believer in supporting the efforts of young people in the arts. Those of you who follow what I do (i.e. my mom) know that I'm very passionate about this issue, and I think that passion stems from a few factors:

  • I often think about the important role that working in the arts -- acting, music, film, theater craft, writing -- as a kid had on my own life; not just in terms of being activities I enjoyed and benefited from, but also in terms of helping to shape my values and personality on whole.
  • On that same note, I still feel very grateful towards the adults who worked with and mentored me when I was a kid (heck... I'm still working with some of them and treasure those friendships).
  • I think the values that working on creative projects offer to young people are tremendous, both directly and indirectly. Of course if you're planning on pursuing a career in the arts, the direct benefits are obvious. But even if you're not, I think that the skills and values you can learn from working together with a group of people on a creative project -- teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, self-motivation, treating others with kindness and respect -- are some of the most important in life. In my own life, no single experience better prepared me for managing large, diverse groups of people in my professional life than leading a group of my peers in producing a show or film when I was a teenager.
For the past few weeks, I've been helping out the students and faculty at Old Bridge High School with technical stuff on their fall comedy, The Curious Savage. I had the opportunity to do the same thing last year when they did High School Musical (which is really less of a musical and more of an unstoppable cultural phenomenon), and, once again, I find that I'm learning at least as much from the experience as the kids are.

I don't know who decided that enthusiasm is a dirty word, but I find it disheartening that so many adults seem to be pathologically afraid of showing it. Apparently, everyone decided that if you want to be taken seriously, you have to act as if nothing affects you and that anyone who shows excitement is silly and immature.

In addition to being hardworking and dedicated, every single one of these students is intensely enthusiastic about being a part of the show. It's interesting how if you just give yourself permission to be enthusiastic about an experience, that experience instantly becomes a richer and more meaningful one. Somehow it just doesn't occur to most kids to be any other way. It's sad that as adults we have to work to achieve that, but it's nice to reminded of how important it is to do it from time to time.

So , to the cast and crew: I hope you are enthusiastically proud of your hard work and the wonderful job you did on opening night. I hope you're excited about being on the front page of the local paper. And I hope you continue to bring that enthusiasm to everything you do: it's what makes life worth living.

As an aside: according to the paper, the show was "voted the No. 8 best play of all time." I wonder who voted on that. I certainly didn't. I mean, let's be realistic here: there are some pretty damn good plays out there. I mean, speaking purely of the quality of the writing, I can think of at least 8 better plays written in Classical Greek. I could certainly name 8 better plays written by Shakespeare, and I'm reasonably certain I could name 8 better plays by Neil Simon.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On improv and business: listening and committing

As my improv group gets ready for our first big show, my consulting work has taken me back into an office setting on a pretty regular basis. This intersection of events has gotten me thinking about a subject that much has been written about before: the lessons improvisational comedy has for the businessperson. In particular, I want to talk about what I'm starting to think are the most important facets of being successful in either arena: listening and committing.

We'd all like to think that we're smart, capable, funny and talented. And the fact is that many of us are: some of us can be downright brilliant and the rest of us are capable of great things given the right approach and a little hard work. But the truth is that very few of us (and I'm not one of them!) are capable of being consistently clever/inspired/brilliant/effective all of the time. Unfortunately, too many of us think that we are, and there's nothing worse than someone who's convinced that they can do no wrong.

The great benefit of working with other people to accomplish a goal -- be it to close a business deal or put on a comedy show -- is that you don't have to depend solely on your own (inevitably inconsistent and fleeting) brilliance. When you work effectively in a group, either as a leader or an equal participant, you benefit tremendously by fostering an atmosphere of openness and collaboration and by being willing to genuinely, deeply and honestly listen to what others have to say.

The other day at improv, we were playing a scene and asked for a suggestion of "something people might be getting ready for" and got the response of "a party." I immediately thought of doing a scene involving an awkward office party, including ideas about the plot, characters and even a few one liners. Before I could even begin, one of my scene partners jumped right in and established a scene about a group of nerdy frat brothers getting ready for a kegger. He went in and established the environment and several good strong characters: better than anything I could come up with. So guess what: when I entered the scene I was no longer an insecure accountant with a crush on his coworker: I was a clumsy Computer Science major carrying a case of Budweiser.

When I started managing large numbers of people at my old job, I had a lot to learn. About twice a day, someone would walk into my office with complaints and concerns that I thought were ridiculous, misinformed or distorted. Initially, I would decide right away that this stuff was nonsense and dismiss it out of hand. Eventually, I figured out that if someone felt strongly enough to take the time out of their day to come into my office and pour their heart out, then buried within all the things they were saying that I didn't agree with, there was probably something real and important there that if I just listened I could draw out and learn from.

One of the other things I learned (yes... the hard way) was that indecision kills. One of my former bosses was fond of saying "The second best decision quickly made is better than the best decision never made," and I think there's a lot to that. The human brain needs direction and goals. It doesn't matter if it's your brain or the brains of a group of people you're leading, they need to be working towards something specific, attainable and concrete to function optimally.

On stage, even very good improvisers make a bunch of bad choices: they take the plot in a direction that limits what can happen next; they make a decision that fails to build upon something their scene partner offered. I'll often play a scene and look back on it and say, "Boy... if I had just done this instead of that, the scene really would have been great!" But some of the best improvs I've ever scene began with a mediocre premise or choice and ended up being hysterical because the players accepted it and threw themselves behind it 100%. So someone just set up a scene about buying a loaf of bread at the supermarket (scenes where you purchase something are always death) -- get behind it: make the cashier and the customer turn out to be a recently-divorced couple and let the sparks fly. The really terrible improv scenes (the ones that aren't funny and don't go anywhere) are the ones where the players fail to throw themselves behind a strong choice.

Similarly, in the world of business, you have to trust yourself. You and I may not be capable of being brilliant all the time, but we're not stupid either. Chances are that if you make the best decision you can and follow it through to its reasonable point of conclusion, you'll probably end up somewhere in the vicinity of success. And if you're honest enough to take a good, hard look at where you're at when you get there, you'll probably learn something useful for next time.

Actober at Yankee Stadium Update

According to sources close to the Yankees (i.e. a friend of Mike's who happened to be at the game), "Everyone Needs a Little Jeter" was also played between innings during ALDS Game 3 at the Stadium on Sunday (10/7).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle... Alspach, Stein, Pisapia???

Last night was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. There we were at Yankee Stadium, watching the Yanks pitching getting lit up by the Tribe, feeling kind of defeated... when all of a sudden...

Everyone Needs a Little Jeter plays on the Yankee Stadium Jumbotron!

We had no idea that was coming.

Of course when you enter the Actober contest, you agree that Major League Baseball can use your video for promotional purposes... but we had no idea that our film would be played on the big screen at The Stadium in front of 55,000 people! And we never would have known about it either if it wasn't for the fact that Leigh and I just happened to be at the game that night.

I managed to take a couple of camera phone pictures of the screen, but you can't really make anything out:



I'm particularly surprised since our video -- as proud of it as I am -- didn't even win in the fan voting for our weekly contest.

Thanks again to everyone who supported us by voting in the contest, and thanks to whoever it was at the Yankees and/or MLB who liked what they saw enough to give us such a tremendous vote of support and confidence!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New website of the day #2


I was busy spilling out new websites yesterday. Website #2 is for my comedy troupe, The B-List. Check it out.

Currently, we're preparing for our show on October 19th, entitled "No Refunds." The show is a benefit for the Old Bridge High School Theater Arts scholarship. Tickets available at the door. Tell the kids.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ireland

Here's some video of our trip to Ireland




Hiatus

Back from our fun trip to Ireland (video to follow).

I had the pleasure today of working with the amazingly talented Brandon Beilis on his new website. Brandon is a gifted actor, writer, comedian and improviser. The site is in the early stages of construction, but you can check it out here.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Confessions of a One Man Sideshow Rules!


Over the last few months, I've had the privilege of helping David Smith develop his all-new show for the Philly Fringe Festival, Confessions of a One Man Sideshow. Last night, I got to view the results of all Dave's hard work, and I can honestly say that it was the most enjoyable night at the theater I've experienced in a long time.

Dave is a renowned sideshow artist and variety entertainer. He is active in the Philadelphia arts community and was a semi-finalist on the first season of America's Got Talent. Dave's performances interweave juggling, sideshow skills and even acrobatics and dance with storytelling that is engaging, humorous and frequently touching.

As a friend of mine who joined us at the show says, great theater makes you do three things: laugh, cry and think. Confessions does all three, and beyond that, it astounds. Though I am an admittedly partisan observer, I would encourage everyone to make a point to see the show. It plays in the Fringe for the next two weeks. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Totally frustrating nonsense from the world of programming

This is the kind of thing that makes developing software take twice as long as it should.

So I run the function to test if a certain value is NULL (i.e. empty) and this is the error message I get:

"Data is Null. This method or property cannot be called on Null values."

Got that: the function to check if something is a Null value or not doesn't work if the value is Null, which you can't tell unless you run the function.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Actober shoutout to Kurt!

Much respect to OBFBL webmaster and all-around awesome guy Kurt Morris for encouraging his colleagues to vote for our video in the Actober contest.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Actober Finalists

"Everyone Needs a Little Jeter" is one of five finalists in this week's Actober contest. Here's what you can do to support us, its creators

1. Go to http://www.actober.com/Vote.aspx . Here, you can view our video (as well as those of the other finalists, but why would you want to do a thing like that anyway?) Ours is the fourth video on the page.

2. Once you've watched the video, check the "Select" box next to it and then click the "Vote" button at the bottom of the page.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 many, many times, thereby expressing your profound appreciation for our artistic achievement (or, failing that, that time we lent you $20 / helped you with your 8th grade term paper / sucked venom out of your rattlesnake bite, etc...). As they say in Chicago, vote early and often!

4. If you genuinely enjoyed our little film, please forward this email to your family, friends, and co-workers (indeed, everyone you know -- we have no shame) and encourage them to vote for it too.

In addition to the vast reserves of good karma your vote will undoubtedly create, doing well in this contest will go a long way in helping us establish ourselves as a force to be reckoned with in the exciting world of Internet Video... or at least as "award-winning" makers of silly videos about baseball.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Dirty Tricks on Safari?

So I've been working on a website development project for a client. To test cross-browser functionality, I've been running a copy of Safari for Windows.

Now the interesting thing is when the website captures the browser identity when I connect to it with Safari, here's what it says:

"AppleMAC-Safari 5.0"

Two things about this. First of all, browser identity shouldn't even include a reference to a platform or OS. Internet explorer reports "IE 7.0" Firefox reports "Firefox 2.0.0.6"). Secondly, it's not the right OS.

Safari for Windows reports that it is actually the "AppleMAC" Safari browser. And yes, I do know a separate part of the request header reports the actual operating system, but still... honest error by Apple or attempt to inflate statistics showing Macintosh/Safari for Mac's market share?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Here comes the warp drive

Scientists claim to have made particles move faster than the speed of light. The interpretation of their data is in dispute, but I'm already lined up to purchase the first commercially available warp drive.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

From baseball to football

Well, it's official: I have been mathematically eliminated from OBFBL playoff contention. So end my 2007 Fantasy Baseball efforts. I'm still playing for pride (and hopefully to finish the season with an over .500 record).

Some random observations on my season:

  1. I put way too much emphasis on trying to draft players who performed fairly consistently week to week. Overall production and potential upside are more important. I won't make the same mistake next year.
  2. I'm going to lobby fairly heavily in the off season for some sort of injury substitution rule (in fact, I've already started). In a points league where accumulating the best record is paramount, it sucks when you find out that your best player will be going on the DL five minutes after lineups were do and you basically have to write off the week.
  3. Here's another proposed rule change: no non-injury related free agent moves once you're eliminated from playoff contention.
  4. Even though I am out of the playoff picture, it is still possible for me to finish with a better record than every team in the NL.
So it's on to defending my championship title in Fantasy Football's highly competitive (and relative-heavy) Alspach All the Time league. It's something to look forward to in the realm of fantasy sports.... but a poor substitute for baseball.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Actober Entry #1: Clemens vs. Piazza

More fun with online video contents. This one is for MLB's "Actober" contest, in which they ask you to reenact a classic post-season moment.

Here's our interpretation of Clemens vs. Piazza from the 2000 World Series.





Wednesday, August 8, 2007

500 vs. 756

Not too long ago, Alex Rodriguez was universally reviled by Yankee fans. Things change quickly when you're having one of the greatest individual seasons in the history of the sport. Having been there last Saturday to see ARod hit career home run number 500, I can honestly say that the outpouring from the fans was spontaneous, exuberant and genuine.

I didn't see Barry Bonds' record-breaking home run live last night, but based on the footage I've seen today, what a contrast. There was much excitement from the San Francisco fans, to be sure, but the sedate tone to the 11 minute break in the action that followed Bonds' touching home plate said a lot.

Hank Aaron's pre-recorded message struck the wrong note for me. It seemed so meticulously crafted -- so much care given to every word so as to avoid saying too much or too little. It seemed to me as less of genuine outpouring of excitement or respect on Aaron's part and more of an attempt to fulfill his obligation to posterity, lest his well-earned legacy of tremendous grace and class be tarnished.

Bonds' own remarks, too, seemed so by-the-book. I've heard commentators praising Bonds' reaction for being perfect -- the sort of thing you're supposed to respect regardless of your opinion of him. But that's the problem: it was just too perfect, too safe, too self-consciously trying to steer clear of the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

I just think about the reaction that an injury-free Ken Griffey would have received had he been the one to break Aaron's record. My sense is that it would be a lot like the one ARod got on Saturday, times a few thousand. In fact, ARod himself probably will experience that someday.

For me, the enduring image of number 756 will not be that of Bonds standing at home plate, extending his arms skyward, acknowledging his father. Instead, I will remember this photo of Bonds and Dave Roberts embracing as Roberts relieved him in the outfield later in the game. The gargantuan Bonds engulfs his average-sized teammate in an enormous bear hug, reminding us that something just doesn't seem right.



Monday, August 6, 2007

Sign seen at the gym yesterday

"Bring a Friend for Free Month -- August 20-31"

August 20-31 has always been my favorite month of the year


Saturday, August 4, 2007

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Cry Havoc! (helicopter that is)

So I just got one of these things as a thank-you gift and it's wicked cool. Highly recommended:




Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Optimum Online blocking YouTube uploads?

So why is it that lately I can't upload anything to YouTube or other video sharing services when using my OOL connection but when using my Verizon Broadband Access connection it works just fine?


Friday, July 27, 2007

Ketchup commercial #2 in the can

So on Tuesday we shot our second entry into the Heinz Top This TV challenge. It is now edited and we are working on music.

I'm excited about this one, I think it's even better than the first one. I will post it as soon as we're done.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Weekly Podcast


I participated in the recording of the OBFBL Weekly Podcast last night. It's awesome that Kurt has put together the league's satellite website and takes the time to do these podcasts. It was great fun to work on this one with Mike and Kurt and hopefully I can do another in the future.

In this episode, the Droids assisted with a little analysis of the playoff picture, we talk about recent trades, upcoming matches and OBFBL: The Next Generation. The volume of my voice is a little low, but that's just the way it goes.

You can listen to the episode here.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Threes are wild

I can't believe I just went 3-0 in the out-of-division-triple-header against 3 other contending teams and ended up only 3rd in line for the wild card spot.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Will It Blend... that is the question

Will It Blend is a great example of a simple concept being successfully executed and resulting in a perfect viral video. This one is my personal favorite:

The all-quality-human-being-team

So this year in fantasy baseball I've had the following people on my team:


And now we have Scott Olsen:

AVENTURA, Fla.—Troubled pitcher Scott Olsen of the Florida Marlins was arrested early Saturday after refusing to pull over and getting into a fight with police officers.

Just horrible. I really need to start drafting a better class of people.

On the other hand, I know it's the wrong sport, but is Michael Vick still available?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

New site up and running

So the new website is up, running and populated with some content. Creating it turned out to be a more time and effort consuming thing than I expected, but I feel like I've got a solid foundation in ASP.NET AJAX as a result.

Nifty things to check out:

  • Photos: The photo page implements an ASP.NET AJAX control (from the toolkit) to display photos in a slideshow format. Right now, there's one for the improv group and a "greatest hits" one of Honey.
  • Videos: This page implements a couple of neat AJAX features. It uses an Accordion Panel to showcase the videos in groups and there's a neat little trick if you click on any of the "About This Video" buttons.
All of the pages implement a control to give the top banner a rounded appearance (through the use of a Master Page), as well as some embedded items for fun.

I plan on adding more content and features (particularly AJAX-based ones) in the future, but for now it's time to do something else with my life.

In other news, the Yankees are on the verge of winning two today... nice!

Heinz Contest Entry #1

The Mental Pause improv and sketch comedy team (of which I am a part) has decided to produce some entries for the Heinz Top This TV Challenge, a contest sponsored by the ketchup people for user-created commercials.

Here's our first entry, entitled "Ketchup Dating":

Welcome

Welcome to the very first post of the Alspach.org blog. I am developing this website to test (and learn about) ASP.NET 2.0 with AJAX. Please browse the site and check out the content. I'll post some more information about myself, what I do and what you can find here a little later on.