31 May

This is my kind of living history

Most people, if they think of historical re-enactors, probably think of Civil War soldiers or maybe SCA members in Renaissance garb. But there are all kinds of re-enactors, including the Vintage Base Ball Association, whose purpose is “to preserve, perpetuate, and promote the game of base ball as it was played during its formative years in the mid-nineteenth century and other historic eras.” That’s base ball, not its modern new-fangled descendant, baseball.

In vintage base ball, players are “ballists,” hitters are “strikers,” and players are declared out if their hits are caught on the first bounce. Ballists play with vintage-style equipment and uniforms. Fans, or “cranks,” cheer on their team with shouts of “Huzza!”

I wish Seattle had some vintage teams. They would be much more enjoyable this year than the Mariners.

If vintage base ball interests you, you should read one of my favorite books, If I Never Get Back, by Darryl Brock. It’s time travel fiction in which a modern man somehow travels back in time to 1869 and ends up traveling with the Cincinnati Red Stockings. A wonderful story with tons of historical detail.

Thanks to Brian at Geohawk for the link to the Riverfront Times article on this topic.

30 May

New Theme added

I threatened to add a new theme to the blog the other day, and here it is. It’s gray and rainy in Seattle for Memorial Day weekend, but at least you can get some blue sky from this new theme. It’s a bit lower in contrast than some themes, so it may not look good on some monitors, but I hope that most of you enjoy it.

As always, you can change the visual theme of the site at any time, just by clicking one of the themes in the menu bar.

(Edited to add: Ah, what the heck. I just added yet another theme for you. This one is lilac/white, a three column-layout, structurally based on the Dots WordPress template by Alex King. I’m not sure about the 3 column thing; it might be overly busy. But it’s a nice change.)

(Edited yet again to add: Bored already, I tweaked the lilac style sheet some more. The purple grid is gone.)

29 May

Post-upgrade fixing

Some people have told me that my RSS feeds were broken for them since the WordPress 1.2 upgrade. Other people have said that my pings to weblogs.com, etc. aren’t working. I think I have figured out a possible reason why this may be happening. We’ll see if this post pings, and if the RSS problem is fixed for those who were having trouble.

And if none of the above made any sense to you, just skip this post and wait for the next one. 😉

27 May

Segue of the Day 5/27/04

Everyonce in a while, with iTunes set on random play, it will play two songs that segue together so perfectly that it’s just stunning. I really need to start keeping track of these so I can remember to put them on a mix cd someday. I think I’ll start posting them here.

Today’s great segue: “Give Judy My Notice” by Ben Folds, into “Many Rivers to Cross” by Jimmy Cliff. The two songs end/begin in the same key and blend together perfectly.

How about you — what great segues have you heard lately?

26 May

WordPress 1.2 is out

I’ve just installed WordPress 1.2 on this site. It didn’t go as well as expected (so the site was broken for a while this evening), but everything seems fixed and working at the moment. There’s even a new feature — the “Recent Comments” list in the sidebar.

It’s possible you may see some weird behavior on the site that is related to the upgrade. If you see anything like that, please post here and let me know.

21 May

Goodbye Doug

I keep thinking it’s got to be a terrible, horrible hoax. But it seems to be real. My friend Doug Pappas, baseball writer, researcher, and Bud Selig’s nemesis, has died at the far-too-young age of 43, of heat prostration while vacationing.

I met Doug (online) in 1990 on CompuServe. Not because of baseball. Because of music. We both hung out in RockNet, where we spent time talking about all things rock and roll, and trading tapes called TATUs — Tapes Around The Universe — mix tapes that we would send, round-robin, to CI$ RockNet members all around the world. Of course, we also had the baseball thing in common, and a liking for the great old-fashioned road trip.

Doug, being a lawyer with a somewhat flexible work schedule, could take time off a few times a year and road trip all over the US. He used to send me big piles of photographs of places he visited. I still have them: pictures of neon signs and roadside museums and canyons and badlands, usually accompanied by a lengthy list describing each photo. Eventually he started sending the photos out digitally; each night of his road trips (and he’d take at least a couple of them every year) he’d send out a photo and a trip report to a large mailing list of friends.

A couple of times he made it out to Seattle and we saw a Mariners game. The first time was at the Kingdome in 1991; the last — last! — was at Safeco Field, last September, the night the lights went out at the ballpark because somebody ran into a power pole in SoDo.

I got my last trip report from Doug on Tuesday morning. He talked about visiting, of all places, Tombstone, Arizona, and his plans to visit Big Bend. Here is the complete trip report:

Read More

17 May

“A blazing chandelier to swing your dreams upon”

The new Seattle Central Library is opening in a few days. I’m looking forward to visiting. Like many, I am unsure about the unusual design—there are some amazing things about it, but until I get a chance to explore the place, I can’t really say whether I like it or not.

Herbert Muschamp of the New York Times has no such problem. He loves it. ” In more than 30 years of writing about architecture,” he says, “this is the most exciting new building it has been my honor to review.” He goes on to compare City Librarian Deborah Jacobs to “popes and princes as an instigator of fabulous cities.” Well, day-um.

“Stairs and escalators—vertical circulation—are painted bright chartreuse, except for a grand staircase that leads, through a mouthlike opening, to the public meeting rooms. These stairs are painted a yummy lipstick red, as are the cavernous corridors off which the meeting rooms open. We have, it seems, entered the body politic with a good deal of passion.”

There is also a slide show of library photos, linked from the right sidebar. I really like the floormats with Dewey Decimal Numbers in the Book Spiral—it’s going to be so easy to find things!

15 May

TBT apparently forged towing authorization

As alleged in this comment earlier this week, a state investigator has found that TBT Towing towed a vehicle from the Starbucks lot on East Olive Way, using a barista’s forged signature to authorize the action.

Note this excerpt:

“Woodrow [Rick Woodrow, the General Manager of TBT] said some of his drivers are paid on commission and it’s impossible to track what each driver does every day.”

Commission? Talk about a conflict of interest. I cannot see any reason why a towing company should pay by commission. I suggest that an excellent way to cut down on some of these unethical activities might be to forbid commission payments to tow drivers. It won’t solve the entire problem but it would help a bit.

Not to mention the bit about “it’s impossible to track what each driver does every day.” Maybe, but it seems that it might be in TBT’s best interest to try a bit harder. Is it the company-wide attitude to wink and nod at these transgressions?

13 May

Culture Shock in Singapore and New Zealand

Culture Shock in Singapore and Culture Shock in New Zealand are a wonderful pair of websites by a Japanese person who visited those countries. The sites describe such things as the characteristics of the Singlish dialect, a Durian Tour, good and bad regional foods, and the culture shock of returning to Japan. Each site is illustrated with cartoons, very much in a Japanese style, of a cat or a dog enjoying aspects of the foreign culture.

Some examples of the commentary:

“Sarsi is a carbonated beverage produced by F&N. Sarsi looks like Coca-Cola but tastes and smells strange. Some say Sarsi smells like an ointment which we use after mosquito bite. Others say Sarsi smells like a poultice for stiff back. Anyway, these are not the expressions for something delicious.”

“You may see the sign on the wall or the doors in shower rooms saying ‘Five-minutes is enough!’ Dear, it’s too short for Japanese who love to warm ourselves up during long hot shower, or preferably long soaking in hot bath-tub.”

“‘Spaghetti’ means ‘canned spaghetti’, which is soaked in tomato sauce and extremely soft.
For KIWI, ‘al dente’ means ‘not cooked’.”

I can confirm that Sarsi is not even close to delicious, despite its Pepsi-like packaging. Anyway, these sites are an enjoyable read.

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