Monday, June 29, 2009

That time of month

The injuries to Carlos Beltran and Dave Bush have hurt my Angels with Crystal Balls, to the extent that my lead a week ago had shrunk to 4.5 points. Blame lies primarily with my pitchers, who don't give up many baserunners but seem to give up more than their share of home runs with men on base. Check out that discrepancy between WHIP and ERA.

Chad Gaudin had a marvelous week to help start bailing, and the good ship is righting itself.

.284 batting average (1st by .012)
95 HR (5th, with the potential to quickly move anywhere from 2nd to 9th)
459 RBI (barely 3rd)
76 SB (tied for 2nd)
4.15 ERA (6th)
1.24 WHIP (2nd)
40 wins (4th and about to climb)
42 saves (2nd)

I'm in first by 7.5 points.

There was nothing left to add by the time it was my turn to add/drop. I could have added Omir Santos and dropped Yorvit Torrealba, but how much will that really help? Johnny Gomes was available, but he's worse than any of my hitters. I settled on Pedro Feliciano, a decent middle reliever who might help me get that ERA down. I dropped the even more useless Cha Seung Baek.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Health updates

I spent Tuesday visiting medical establishments.

I had a follow-up with my excellent hematologist scheduled for 9:20 a.m. and the day started well as I got the best of all possible parking spots at 9:00. Anticipating a wait, I paid for the most parking I could: $4 for two hours.

The first order of business was a donation of two vials of that most precious of bodily fluids, blood. I took a seat in the waiting room with my Child One's iPod, which has become my most constant companion, although certainly not my most beloved. I listened and waited and waited and listened.

The highlight of my wait was watching two birds soar over Montreal from the west and disappear in the direction of Laval. You get a great view from the seventh floor of the Jewish General Hospital, which is itself on the city's central hill, Mount Royal. These were big birds I could watch for a long time. They did not glide but flew with powerful strokes. They looked dark with white heads and I'm pretty sure they were bald eagles, which I've never seen around here before but whose range encompasses the city.

I waited some more, learning that the blood lab's computers had crashed and so those patients who's apppointments relied on blood work would continue to be delayed. Eventually, I was the oldest survivor in the room. My doctor sought me out and explained that I had been waiting the longest - I said I had realized that - and asked if I had to leave. I didn't, but I did need to feed the parking meter and then could wait some more. So I did.

Finally, my enzyme results came in and the doctor examined me. My liver enzymes are back to normal and my spleen is normal size and tucked into the rib cage again. My lymphocyte counts are still missing, but she gave me a clean bill of health with no limitations. Before I start playing hockey again, though, I need to build up my stamina. I still feel a bit tired, but that's probably because I keep waking up between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m.

So I'm good - but my day was not through with the medical establishment. The night before, Child Two had stepped on a nail in the garden of a house hosting a graduation party (elementary school). The nail had penetrated deep into her foot and her vaccination record indicated that she received her last tetanus shot in 1998. So off to the CLSC we went.

Apparently, Child Two had fallen behind in a number of other boosters, too, but that might be just faulty record keeping. We ordered a copy of a more official record of her shots but in the meantime the nurse gave her tetanus booster. Child Two was not pleased, but the pain wore off in a day.

That night, my good old, souped-up G4 Mac died irrevocably. It won't even try to power up. I switched the power cord to make sure that wasn't at fault and it wasn't. That indicates one of three problems: either a motherboard battery out of power; a broken power supply; or a fried motherboard. The battery was fine and I have a hunch the problem is the power supply. New and even used power supplies cost as much as it would cost to replace the Mac with an equivalent machine so it makes no sense to try to repair it.

I have a new iMac on the way. I hadn't realized it before this week, but the top grade of iMac offers the option of a decent video card, so I ordered one. You can only purchase such customized orders online, so I have to wait for it. I had hoped to be able to buy it at Concordia's computer store or at the Apple store downtown.

It's a 2.93-GHz 24" iMac with a 512-MB ATI Radeon HD 4850 and 4 GB of 1066-MHz DDR3 SDRAM.

I also got the free (after rebate) iPod Touch. Total after taxes and rebate is $2,568.52 (Canadian dollars). A bit more than I wanted to spend, but it should last a while. My only bugaboo is that I can't migrate my users from the old G4 because it won't boot - I'll have to install everything from scratch. That might be a good thing, and I'm confident my G4's hard drives are intact.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

I'm having a comedy of events here.

Elvi spent the bulk of Father's Day weekend out near Magog on a retreat with her lesbian choir, leaving me and the kids to fend for ourselves. I managed to get Child Two out with me for a shopping trip yesterday but spent most of the rest of the day in bed. I fell asleep around 5:30 p.m., woke at 8:00 p.m. and told the kids to eat, then went back to bed.

At 9:00 a.m. today, the kids told me they were making me food. I assumed they meant breakfast so I stayed in bed until noon when hunger drove me downstairs. I had to get my own breakfast (the last of the lasagna followed by a bowl of granola with extra coconut) because the food they were making turned out to be cheesecake (still not done) and almond meringue cookies (which are delicious even though they resemble almond meringue leather more than cookies). I should credit the kids: while the kitchen was an unholy mess this morning, they more or less cleaned up (OK, with my help).

The most worrisome aspect of my week is that my Mac has decided to start shutting down at random. It might be heat related, but that's not a good excuse. After years of service, it's time to move on from my souped up G4 and buy a replacement.

I checked eBay; used G5s are reasonably priced but it doesn't make sense right now to get anything but a machine with an Intel processor - and those are no bargain on eBay, used or not.

I currently have a 21" or 22" CRT monitor that's just fine.

I've looked at the options and here they are. I like the price of the Mini but I'm a little worried about the lower grade video, which is in everything but the Mac Pro. Flight sims and WWII Online are the most taxing thing I'll use, along with the next Combat Mission release. I don't know a whole lot about video cards, though....

Prices are in Canadian dollars after my educational discount and all orders come with a free iPod Touch (yum!):

1) MacBook Pro 15" laptop: 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 250GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm; NVIDIA GeForce 9400M; $1900

2) MacMini: 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 320GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm; NVIDIA GeForce 9400M; $1185

3) iMac 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 640GB Serial ATA Drive @ ? rpm; NVIDIA GeForce 9400M; 24" LCD monitor; $1700

4) Mac Pro 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon; 3GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 640GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA @ 3Gb/s; ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB; $2950 (or drop to a NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB for $225 less)

What I really need is the Mac Mini with the video card of the Mac Pro, but that's not an option. Apple should provide a Mini Pro, but I'm guessing the company likes the profit on the Mac Pros.

Happy Father's Day, all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Back on the job, kinda

Mono or not, I started teaching my summer grad course this week. Because the Journalism Department this year doubled the number of graduate diploma students from 20 to 40, I get to teach two sections.

I'll be in school Mondays and Thursdays, teaching a morning and afternoon class each of those days for seven weeks. This past Monday and Tuesday, I started with one-hour orientation sessions. It was a good test of my stamina.

I managed the teaching well enough, although I'm not as good a teacher as when healthy. I don't have the same energy and I zoned out once or twice more than I usually would. Nevertheless, I was effective and I didn't give any of my students mono as far as I know.

The ill effects of teaching came after class. Monday, I got home about 4:30 and promptly slept for four hours. I woke up and ate and went back to bed but couldn't fall asleep again until 3:00 a.m. Mono and insomnia do not a fun combination make.

The sunlight pouring through our bedroom skylight and hoodlum birds singing at dawn woke me at 5:30 Tuesday morning. I couldn't fall asleep again but I still managed my 2:30 p.m. orientation session and I slept off the accumulated debt on coming home and feeding the kids while Elvi was out at her choir practice. I slept from 7:00 p.m. to midnight, 2:00 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. (damned birds), and 6:45 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. I'm back to feeling regular mono-tired today, which is manageable. Heck, I'm writing this. It's functional and so am I, if not at the top of my game.

I'd like to write about what I deemed the best and worst of last week's E3 with respect to gaming, but that requires too much thought. It'll have to wait.

Bonus good news, everyone:

"Futurama" is coming back with more. Comedy Central has ordered 26 new episodes to air beginning in 2010.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

June update

I was able to get a half day of work in yesterday morning, but I crashed at 12:30 p.m. I made some phone calls, dealt with a backlog of e-mail, and organized my schedule in the four hours I had. I suppose that's something, but I'd prefer more tangible results.

June finds me way out front of the Irrational League with a 14-point lead over the second-place team. My lead fluctuates between nine and 15 points, but has stayed within that comfortable range seemingly all month.

I made a trade back on May 11, surrendering Ryan Zimmerman and Chad Qualls for David Wright and Javier Vazquez. I was worried about wins, WHIP, and ERA and could afford surrendering a closer with two others on the roster. And I think that Wright, despite his lack of power so far this year, is going to surpass Zimmerman in all categories. So far, I'm down three HRs, up three SBs, up 90 points of batting average, and up one RBI.

For the June 1 add/drop, I dropped injured Jeff Baker and picked up budding rookie Chris Coghlan, even though for now he stays in my reserves. I have nobody injured, and no one, I suspect, that's worse than Coghlan. My other option was picking up a middle reliever to replace the injured Will Ohman or take a flyer on starter Antonio Bastardo or Troy Glaus. With my team firing on all cylinders, I preferred to go with the conservative choice after deciding that a middle reliever was pointless.

.288 batting average (1st by .010)
68 HR (4th, 3 HRs ahead of 5th)
338 RBI (2nd by 21)
47 SB (5th by 9 and only 3 SBs out of a tie for 3rd; I had only 15 SBs in April!)
4.13 ERA (4th)
1.30 WHIP (2nd)
28 wins (4th; had only 9 in April)
32 saves (1st, but I expect to fall to 2nd or 3rd this month)

Add it up and I get an impressive total of 65 points. The amazing thing about it is that there's no real weakness, no way I can see this team dropping below, say, 59 points barring catastrophe.

Whoa, I'm pooped now. Might be time for a nap.