Balloonar Eclipse!

Here in Kansas City, we’re on the very edge of the eclipse path, and it was a beautiful night for a balloon flight too. (KOJC 210053Z 34006KT 10SM CLR 22/09 A3013 RMK AO2 SLP196 T02170094). As I was out looking at the eclipse, along comes Jason Jones of Old World Balloonery with a load of passengers, and I got a balloonar eclipse as a bonus.

My crappy phone camera gave me neat lens flare showing the eclipse in progress next to the balloon:


Why Bud Selig Was Right

I don’t often blog about sports. Sports writing is not my thing. There are others way better at it than I. But I’ve had a passion for the game of baseball since I was little and my dad took me to a couple of Expos games every summer (which, looking back, prepared me quite nicely for the perpetual disappointment that comes with being a Royals fan these days)

Yesterday’s quasi-perfect game in Detroit was a heartbreaker for any fan of baseball (especially Tigers fans), and certainly for the two people most closely involved: Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga and MLB umpire Jim Joyce. Galarraga saw his perfect game evaporate in the split second that Joyce missed the ball beating the runner to first base (which, ironically, was being manned by none other than Galarraga).

Joyce has admitted he blew it. Galarraga has clearly forgiven Joyce for denying him a spot in the baseball record books. Both have handled this with grace and absolute class that are one of the great things about baseball. These two checked their egos and remembered, even in the heat of controversy that this is ultimately just a game.

There were cries from all corners for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to overturn the call and give Galarraga his perfect game. Today he declined to do so, much to the dismay of those fans. I think Selig did the right thing for the purity of the game. The umpires on the field are the ones making the calls, and they need to know without a doubt that the league, especially the commissioner, has their back. Overturning a call in response to public outcry is bad for the game. We can’t have umpires second-guessing themselves during the game, wondering if every call is going to get appealed up the chain.

Even worse, Selig overturning the call would have set an ugly precedent that would likely ultimately lead to video replays in baseball, and that would be a the greatest tragedy to hit baseball since the strikes and night games at Wrigley. Gone would be the drama of managers going up and arguing a bad call, only to have the umpire stand is ground and stick to his decision. There’s no second-guessing in this game. You may think the umpire’s call sucks, but human fallibility is an essential part of baseball, or any sport for that matter.Never mind that video replay would slow the already quite leisurely pace of the game to a crawl.

Ultimately, Galarraga knows he pitched a perfect game, regardless of what ends up in the history books. Joyce admitted he blew it. But then again, these two have achieved something that they otherwise wouldn’t have if it had been a perfect game just like the other twenty (two of which happened in the last month!!). These two have inadvertently (but symbiotically) achieved a great honor: They’re now going to be a part of baseball and sports trivia and will be talked about by fans for years. What more could a ball player ask for?

Happy Birthday to Me!

Had a wonderful 35th birthday today, thanks to my family and a bunch of friends, mostly from the department, with a few others thrown in for good measure.

We moved our usual end-of-the-month game night up a week to have a birthday party at the same time, which was the third event of the week at our house, and the fourth gathering I’d been to this week…

Monday: Small Group at our house.
Tuesday: Arena Survival Party at Brian’s place. Perfect day for it. Got some great pics of the girls.
Wednesday: night off.
Thursday: Après-Party for Jeremy’s wife following dinner at Llywelyn’s (a nice celtic pub within walking distance of our place, with good food, good beer, and good music.)
Tonight: Game Night/Birthday.

Janelle and Brandon (who looks like he could be Terry Storch‘s little brother) joined us. Janelle is our staff Adminstrel/mercenary and goes around filling in for folks on vacation. This week, she’s in HR. Brandon is a web designer for a local advertising agency. Janelle said she loved to play Settlers of Catan, so I invited her and her hubby along (since he’s a geek too). There were enough of us (11 plus the kids) to play two boards of Settlers, which amazingly finished up within minutes of each other. Brian and my wife were the victors.

Before gaming, there was munching. A ridiculous amount of dessert and munchies materialized, in addition to the “official” birthday cake from 3 women and an oven (which is dangerously within walking distance of our house):

(in the background is one of my rapidly-becoming-legendary margaritas, and a bit of Janelle in her KU swag)

Matt was duly impressed by the candle arrangement. This was after all a party attended by geeks. The carrot cake was heavenly. It was the first time we’d outsourced birthday cake production due to Andrea starting full-time work at the church this week and our busy social calendar.

Wait, what? I have a social life? How did that happen? OK, so it’s mostly with other geeks. Demented and sad, but social.

The night was capped off by Brandon, Matt, and Philip playing on Matt’s Wii. Thanks to all my peeps and homies for making it such a fun birthday.

Starbucks goes retro (and a little naughty) !

Over here, on $* changing the logo on their cup to the pre-1987 logo as part of a promotion of their new house brew:

Here’s my question, Starbucks fans: Does the logo, be it be green, white and conservative, or brown, white and slightly pornographic, have anything to do with why you line up around the block for the Seattle company’s coffee — new blend or old?

Reminds me of the joke about the origins of the Canadian flag… They wanted to create a flag that represented both male and female Canadians… But that would be pornographic, so they covered it up with a maple leaf 🙂

Fun with graphics

The Deviant Monk recently posted another item in his series of illustrated psalms, this one inspired by Psalm 63. It screamed “wallpaper” to me, especially with the black at the bottom being enough to accomodate my obscenely thick taskbar. But, since I also have an obscene number of pixels on my desktop, it looked a little blurry. I asked him if he had a high-res version. He happily obliged (rerendering it took all of about 3 minutes, I think). I really like the result – The rising orb on the right nicely offsets the sidebar, and the shadow at the bottom leaves me just enough room to fit the taskbar. And it’s dark. I really like dark wallpapers.

The rest of the set (which is a work in progress) can be found on flickr. Looking forward to the day when they’re all complete and in a book form suitable for a coffee table.