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"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood." – E. M. Forster

Archive for September, 2002


Sunday, 15 September 2002

New Buckner CDs; tough road for Dodgers

Last week I wrote about pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii suffering a concussion and skull fracture. It’s good to write that he’s been released from the hospital after surgery, and is doing well. He’s out for the rest of the season, obviously, but in one article I read yesterday, the Dodgers management, coaches and trainers are going to work with him before spring training and provide counseling. They’re even considering some sort of protective armor or shell that will fit underneath a cap. I know this is all preliminary, but I am so glad that these ideas are on the table.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers themselves are fading fast in the NL Wild Card and Division races. They need to command the series at home with the Giants. Their starting and middle-relief pitching hasn’t been as effective lately, save Odalis Perez and Hideo Nomo, and with the lack of run production (which has been the case all year), that’s not a good sign. The team just hasn’t been playing well the last few weeks, and meanwhile the Giants are winning most of their games. If the offense doesn’t put up big numbers every day, the outlook looks rather grim. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, though. They’ve come up with some clutch wins, and they need to be a clutch team now.

Buckner and more Buckner: Richard Buckner‘s new CDs are available now! Go get ‘em. They’re called "Impasse-ette" (EP — some places may still have the older title "Born Into") and "Impasse" (full original album). Check out more details from Overcoat Records. "Impasse" is set for release in a few weeks officially, but you can get a copy (legitimately) from Village Records. And yeah, I don’t have either yet but I’m sure they’ll be sitting in my CD player soon.

And a note: I know 11 Sept. has come and gone, but I purposely avoided writing about it here on Wednesday. Just thinking of posting something about it here gave me flashbacks to that day a year ago, when I was so overwhelmed by confusion and shock and tried to write something coherent and cohesive here. All I’ll say now is that I hope people are doing better.


Thursday, 12 September 2002

Ditching Netscape for Moz

Yesterday I started using Mozilla 1.0.1 after I’d had one Netscape 4.79 crash too many. It had been crashing a lot more recently. I read a bunch of posts on Google Groups on Mozilla 1.0.1 and 1.1 and Netscape 7, and which one to download to try. I decided to avoid the beta Moz and the AOL-branded N7 and go with Moz 1.0.1, which also has a very useful anti-pop-up feature. I also looked into Netscape 4.8, but since it was basically a maintenance upgrade, I went with Moz to see what kind of features were being implemented (for the most part in the multiple-account IMAP and POP3 e-mail arena).

There are still some things about Netscape 4.79 that I miss, though, that aren’t residents of Mozilla. The most annoying omission is the "home" button bug on the toolbar. Even if you choose to have the button, it doesn’t show up. Apparently it’s a longstanding bug and won’t be fixed anytime soon. Another thing about Mozilla: it looks more like IE and Outlook (Express). "Go Home" is no longer CTRL-H, which I pretty much was weaned on in Netscape, but ALT-HOME. And now, if I toggle "full headers" in the mail display, the headers show up separately from the message body instead of being a part of the body. So if the headers are quite long, then the body window shrinks and I have to scroll — but scrolling won’t move the headers. Things like that. At least the bookmarks system hasn’t changed much. The thing I dislike most about IE is the favorites management. It is so difficult to look through favorites, because they don’t open in a separate (and larger) window. It’s really awful.

Anyway, I’ve been using Moz for less than 24 hours, but so far I haven’t had it crash. I still need to get used to the weird style sheet rendering and the odd text sizes, compared to IE5, IE6 and NC4.79. I do like the download times displayed in the browser status bar.

Posted at 11:20 pm | Filed under Tech/geek |  

Sunday, 8 September 2002

Baseball shouldn’t be this scary

Watching the Astros-vs.-Dodgers game on television earlier, I saw L.A.’s starting pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii get hit in the forehead by a line drive. I was so shocked that I couldn’t even say anything — not even a gasp or an "oh no." It looked really nasty, and when Vin Scully speculated (and hoped) that Ishii might at least have put his glove in front of his face to deflect the ball, the replays showed no such luck. Upon being struck, Ishii just crumpled in front of the mound, writhing in pain, and was taken away in an ambulance that drove onto the infield. It was really awful to watch. As I write this, the latest AP report states that Ishii suffered a concussion and a small skull fracture. The report also said that after the ball hit Ishii, "it ricocheted all the way to the backstop behind home plate." Geez. There was a somewhat reassuring moment, though, when he moved his arms and showed that he was conscious while being strapped to the stretcher.

Like many baseball fans, I just wish that he’s okay. I didn’t see Dodger Alex Cora sustain his concussion while sliding into second base a few weeks ago (I’m glad that he’s recovered nicely), but this accident was just gruesome to witness. It made me think of John Olerud, first baseman for the Seattle Mariners. When playing defense, Olerud always wears a helmet — it looks kind of like a slimline version of a batting helmet — instead of the usual baseball cap. I’m sure he gets a lot of ribbing, but I’ve always thought he was smart to do it. The helmet is cheap insurance, and it makes a lot of sense on the field. When something like today’s accident happens, it makes even more sense.

Also, as Vin Scully pointed out, the difficult lighting within the stadium did not help at all. At the time of the accident, the last rays of sun were slowly moving away. The mound was bathed in a patch of sunlight, but the entire area in front of the mound, including the batter’s box, was in shade. Scully guessed that Ishii may have lost sight of the ball as it crossed the shaded area into the sunlight towards him, and hence couldn’t move out of its way in time.

As the medical personnel were examining Ishii and the game was put on hold (there was no break to commercials until the ambulance left the field and Kevin Beirne came in as the emergency reliever), Scully kept saying that pitchers don’t like talking about the hazards of working on a mound a mere sixty feet in front of the batter, and the possibility of getting seriously hurt. I got the impression that it was a taboo subject among both pitchers and players — that they just ignore the negative possibilities and hope for the best, considering any accident part of the job. But why is that? That just seems so wrong. If the players don’t want to talk about it, why don’t the team trainers and management at least pick a bone about it? Ishii certainly isn’t the first pitcher to ever get struck in the head by a hit baseball. Is it because accidents like this don’t happen everyday?

Okay, so I’m not sure if requiring helmets for fielders would be the answer… I know pitchers and many infielders would balk (no pun intended) at a helmet on the field, saying it would hinder their abilities. I would really be interested in learning about Olerud’s experience in wearing a helmet while playing first base. I tried Googling for interviews or articles quoting him on the subject and how it affects his play, but couldn’t find anything of substance. In any case, I can’t come up with the perfect solution right now, but all I’m saying is that this really shouldn’t be a taboo subject to sweep under the rug and ignore, hoping that an accident won’t happen. It should be addressed carefully and thoroughly, because safety should never be a low priority.

Posted at 12:00 am | Filed under Baseball, sports, Favorite posts |  

Friday, 6 September 2002

Here’s one for ‘The End of Free’ folks

Pollstar is going to start charging for its services. If Pollstar is unfamiliar to you, it’s a music site that provides industry news, but its name-brand feature is the notification system for artists and venues (you can just sign up to get an e-mail whenever your favorite artists or venues add new tour dates). It’s one of the most useful tools on the Web today, and it was all free. But soon they’re going to create a paid subscription level, and free accounts will have a 5 artist/venue limit on notifications. Well actually, that’s not too bad — at least they’re not nixing the whole free concept, and you can still look up (manually) the tour dates and concerts on the site at no charge. But being the music addict that I am, there are 30 people/places on my "notify" list, so I’ll need to figure out which 25 will be removed (you can bet that Richard Buckner or McCabe’s will not be one of them!).

Posted at 3:36 pm | Filed under Music |  

Tuesday, 3 September 2002

Let’s go fly a camera

Last night, I found this treasure trove of kite aerial photography by Charles C. Benton, after seeing one of his photos featured as the "Photo of the Week" on photo.net. I highly recommend checking out his site, even if you’re not a photographer. Everyone likes pictures, right? Well, there are some stunners in this lot.

Posted at 3:53 pm | Filed under Photography |