Thursday, May 30, 2002

The World Cup

What with all the basketball I've been watching (Celtics down three games to two against the Nets in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals), the World Cup has almost snuck up on me. But not to the rest of the planet.

This is the biggest sporting event in the world. All the world plays soccer. All the world. The best 32 national men's soccer teams will play at various locations in Japan and Korea. The United States will be among them. Their first match: June 5 (Wednesday) at 5AM. I will be watching. (We're playing Portugal.)

All of the matches will be broadcast live, but in the wee-hours, like 2:30AM and 3:30AM. But it won't matter. The World Cup draws an audience as large if not larger than the Olympics.

We have had the World Cup groupings on our refrigerator door since December. But this evening, I noticed that my wife had put up the match schedule, sorted by date. Let's get started!

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Knife Cut

I cut my left index finger with a big kitchen knife this evening, almost two hours ago. Boy it hurts to type.

I was cutting some cooked meat, which I was going to have for lunch. I held the knife with my right hand, but I was slicing towards my left. I slipped, and the knife cut somewhat deeply into the finger, just below my nail, somewhat on the side. "Holy Jesus Christ" I spat out, as the blood began pouring out. I ran it under some cold water for a few minutes. The blood kept dripping.

I ran it under water a few more minutes, then put it in a cup full of water. The blood oozed out of my finger, turning the water into a dull red. I went to Jenn. Though she was quite disgusted at my bleeding finger, she said to keep pressure on it, then bandage it when the bleeding subsides. Of course.

I clamped down on my bleeding finger using a rag. After a few minutes of pressure, the bleeding subsided. I was able to look at the cut. It was about a quarter-inch in length, and it felt deep. I wrapped a bandage around this finger, and the bleeding has largely subsided. A clean cut, as they say.

Did it hurt? Only when it was bleeding profusely. I was worried for a few seconds, mostly around when the bleeding will stop (I was watching hockey's Eastern Conference Finals between the Hurricanes and the Maple Leafs). I am amazed at the process my body is now doing to heal this cut. A lot is going on, but essentially your body just deals with it. (Of course, if you're a hemophiliac, this small cut would be deadly.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

The Chronicles of George

The Chronicles of George was the funniest thing I have read on-line about technical support stupidity in quite some time ("her volume was her volume is not working").

The FAQ on this site reveals a remarkably sensitive person, just trying to find some release for his pent-up feelings of frustration at havening had to work with someone like George.

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Sorry-Looking Lawn

I mowed my sorry-looking lawn this morning. I also threw down some lawn seed, in the hopes that nature will take her course. Someday, I'll probably feel compelled to "buy" a new lawn (i.e. new sod). Today wasn't that day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Celtics and Nets

It will be the Boston Celtics versus the New Jersey Nets for the NBA's Eastern Conference Final. The first game is this Sunday.

The Star Wars Prequels

Believe it or not, I watched Star Wars: The Phantom Menace for the first time last week. I borrowed the DVD from a colleague at work, and I finally got around to watching it. (I had just finished watching The Apostle, so I wanted to watch something "light".)

It's been three years since The Phantom Menace (TPM) was released (1999), and twenty years since Return of the Jedi (1983). Return of the Jedi was the last Star Wars movie I saw in the theater (I think I watched the rerelease of Star Wars (A New Hope) right before TPM).

For a variety of reasons, I never got into the idea of watching TPM. For one thing, I didn't really like the plot twists introduced in Return of the Jedi. Over time, I've come to understand them ("I am your father!"), and I've come to accept them ("I am your sister!") but I began to feel that George Lucas was pulling something over his audience.

I don't deny the popularity of the Star Wars films. Star Wars was the first movie that I ever watched more than once in a theater. The first movie in which I loved the music. The special effects. The great lines ("I have a bad feeling about this."). It was influential in that it has informed me of what a great movie experience is all about. I devoured Star Wars. I knew who Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels were. I read magazines on Star Wars. I collected cards. I had a Darth Vader poster on my wall.

But as I grew up, and was able to absorb more sophisticated movies, I learned that in the scheme of "important" movies, it may fall below, say The Godfather, or Forrest Gump. I've learned to appreciate simple cinematic touches (the unwinding ball of yarn in Cinema Paradiso), great dialogue (Hard Eight), and great acting (Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking).

So I was greatly surprised when I found that I really liked TPM. I watched it once, then watched the DVD's "featurettes" on the making of TPM, then watched it again, listening to the commentary track.

TPM, despite the dreaded Jar Jar, is a fantastic film. Ewan MacGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Liam Neeson (Qui-Gon Jinn) had great approaches to their roles, and young Jake Lloyd played a terrific young Annakin Skywalker. And Natalie Portman (Queen Padmé Amidala) was wonderful. The story was well-paced, and I found myself quite engaged. You know how things will turn out, but you enjoy the voyage anyway. That's good story-telling! (Lucas isn't pulling anything over our eyes...he just doesn't have enough movie hours to tell his story!)

It's not as good as A New Hope. But it's got me hooked again. Joe Barlow's review sums it up: "TPM is a major step forward in the evolution of this series."

I've read some of the tough initial reviews on Attack of the Clones, but I'm sure the generation of young fans who saw Phantom Menace the way I saw Star Wars will be lining up when Episode II debuts. I think I know how they feel.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Boston and Detroit Series

Boston 90. Detroit 81. And now Boston is playing for the NBA's Eastern Conference Championship.

We'll find out tomorrow if we're playing the New Jersey Nets or the Charlotte Hornets. The Nets are up 3-1 in their series. Since I'm originally from New Jersey, and my Dad still lives there, I'll be hard pressed to root against the Nets. But I'll do it. Sorry Dad!

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Boston and Detroit Series

Boston 90. Detroit 79. This Boston win makes the series 3-1 in Boston's favor.

If the Boston Celtics and the New Jersey Nets make the next round, I'll really be sweating every playoff game.

Friday, May 10, 2002

Smiley Face

Buried deep in the paper was the comment that the student pipe-bomber Lucas Hedler was trying to make a smiley face with the location of mail boxes that he used.

For some reason, all I could think about was The Watchmen comic book series.

Sunday, May 5, 2002

Making Change

I was buying a bottle of juice Friday morning. I presented a $20 bill. The attendant asked "Do you have anything smaller than that?"

I hate that question. My thought bubble read: "No. I didn't have anything smaller. C'mon!"

I wish clerks wouldn't bother asking for smaller bills. Does it matter? Just make the change! It's not like anyone has to actually subtract anything. The cash machine takes care of the brain work. (My juice was $1.39. What's the difference between $1.39 and $20.00?)

I believe that gas stations, convenience stores, and other high-traffic places should stock up on single dollar bills in the morning. I truly do.

I can appreciate clerks not wanting to break bills for people who don't purchase anything. But I had the obligatory purchase. In my video game playing days (1970 and 1980s), no one wanted the serve the line of kids asking for four quarters for a dollar. I was the kid with five dimes asking for two quarters!

I should confess that the reason for my needing to break the big bill in the morning was to prevent having to break a big bill at lunch. It was the kind of lunch where at the end everyone is fishing for small bills and no one wants to say "All I've got is a $20 bill."

We all have to break a big bill once in a while. To all you clerks out there: just do it, OK?

Saturday, May 4, 2002

Celtics Win!

Celtics 120. Sixers 87. Yeah!

Thursday, May 2, 2002

The Rain and The Celtics

It's raining. Drizzling steadily. Lightning. Now thunder. Rain.

I'm now anxiously awaiting the Celtics "must-win" game tomorrow night. I said this to myself Tuesday night when I heard the weather forecast: "I don't care if it rains, as long as the Celtics win." Well, it's raining, and the Celtics lost.

I don't have great expectations about this team. But now that they're in the playoffs, I want them to succeed. I want them to advance. Being a sports fan means being a little irrational I think.

Prediction: Celtics win game 5 to get to the second round. I'll be posting tomorrow night. The forecast: A windy cloudy day. But I don't care.

Wednesday, May 1, 2002


It's May. Amazing.