Saturday, September 23, 2006


If there were any hold-outs thinking that the Tar Heel football team might discover some semblance of a defence, they're all eager for basketball seaon now. What an ugly mess! The crappiness of the game was exacerbated by the constant mention of the 1981 Clemson team that won at least part of the MNC. Well, I remember that team. I also remember camping out in the freezing cold outside of Carmichael Auditorium to get tickets for it - at the time of ticket distribution, UNC was undefeated and ranked number 3 in the country with Clemson right behind us as number 4. Between the distribution and the game itself, we managed to lose pretty big to South Carolina, but we were still in the top 10 and undefeated in the conference when Clemson came into town. They left an 10-8 winner leaving us to eventually play Arkansas in the foggy Gator Bowl instead of playing a major with a shot for a national championship. Of course the year before we'd won the ACC, losing only to Oklahoma in Norman and still got no better than the Bluebonnet Bowl, so we might have gotten shut out anyway.

I'm typing all of this because I'd rather talk about 25-year-old losses than that crap that I heard and saw today. The one somewhat-saving grace is that it looks like NCState (the team of most of the guys I work with) is about to lose their 3rd game as well and they have much less goodness to look forward to come basketball season.

When's the Blue-White game again?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Survey vs. Bias

I've tried hard to avoid posting about the Duke lacrosse players rape case. There just isn't much for me to say - I have no idea what actually happened so there really isn't much to comment on.

Except for the survey.

According to the defense attorneys, the DA has prejudiced the case against the players. That was their excuse for commissioning a poll of the Durham area. Imagine the surprise of the DA's wife when she got called by the survey. Imagine her further surprise when the first question was
if the prosecutor in a community took on a sensational case right before a primary/election, do you think such a case would be handled for political gain?
Imagine the surprise of the pollster when the DA's wife informed her that she was, in fact, the DA's wife. Imagine the surprise of, well, all of us when the pollster agreed to continue asking questions of the DA's wife. Like
If you heard that two strippers were hired to perform for some men and one was saying she was locked into the bathroom and the other one was not there; and one said she was raped and the other contradicted her statement, one time saying she did not think anything happened, then later changed her story; and that the rape victim had changed her story several times; and then you learned that she had said she was raped at another time and nothing happened with that charge, would you be likely to believe a rape occurred?
The questions listed above were written down by the DA's wife and attested to under oath - the lawyers refused to provide the questions when asked.

I really don't like lawyers in general although I do recognize their necessity. But these guys seem pretty despicable to me.

Carrboro Music Festival 2006

The last Sunday of September is one of my favorite days of the years now with the Carrboro Music Festival. Dozens of bands, all free, and so far the weather has held out every year (knock on wood). Pictures from last year are here. It's not that there are superstars that will be there (or at least not that I know about ahead of time) - I just like going to wander from venue to venue, taking pictures, listening to whatever jam is offered, having a few beers and enjoying a true music festival without the hassle of camping out with a bunch of stinky people that I don't know... ;-D


My post from last night is a good example of why trying to get in a blog post before falling asleep on the sofa with my laptop burning holes in both thighs is probably not a very good idea. Not only is the writing bad, I have a tendency to try to rush a number of ideas out at once that are better served by separate posts and I only get about a third of each thought out before posting to avoid losing it all.

To last night's case in point, I'd been planning to blog for weeks about my reintroduction to NPR and why I am uncomfortable with it. I started listening to "All Things Considered" when I was working at the remote computing facility at Cobb Dorm as a senior at UNC and picked up "Morning Edition" (damn, I miss Bob Edwards) when I started commuting to RTP to work at IBM the next year. I was a regular listener for the next dozen and a half years until I started telecommuting and I find that I just don't listen to news/talk radio unless I'm behind the wheel of a car. What I think needs some explaining is my discomfort with NPR and it primarily has to do with some of the people (and, I'll admit, stereotypes of listeners) that I've known over the years that live and die by it. There are way too many people out there that are smugly convinced that because they get their news from NPR rather than FauxNews, they've got the "real" news in a format that is either less-biased, unbiased or biased in the direction of their own biases. Now, undoubtedly they have MORE news than a Fox News viewer and they have a MORE widescreen view of what's happening and that's nothing but good. And for some, that knowledge has hopefully driven them to seek further afield for the truth. But frankly Cokie Roberts and the rest of the gang have been pretty mainstreamed, so those that think they're getting the whole story from NPR are pretty naive. The few times that I did listen over the last few years, I found them to be as fawning over the Bush administration as the rest of the popular media.

All that being said, for the most part it's been kind of nice to be a regular listener again.

But I'd rather be telecommuting.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Just Drive, She Said

Haven't been posting much later, primarily because I'm still trying to get used to driving into work again. It might not sound like much, but getting up before 6 and not getting home until 7-ish is a big change for me and is taking much more time (or maybe just head space) and making it hard to get any writing done. I have NO complaints about the job - absolutely none. But with the commute (which doesn't mean just the hour+ in the car but also includes stuff like, oh, shaving that I didn't need to do while working from home) has not just taken up a lot more time, but also includes a surprising amount of money that I hadn't considered. The gas is a given (and boy didn't I pick the right time to start driving to work again!) but I've also had to add things like my own cellphone (this contract won't pay for one) and a membership to the UNC Wellness Center since running in the morning before work is no longer practical. But I'll say again, I'm so happy with the job that I'll deal with the added expenses.

One other plus/minus of the drive thing is my return to NPR. For years I listened to Morning Edition and All Things Considered pretty faithfully but over the last few years my listening was pretty rare. I guess it's not bad to be listening again since it is by necessity taking the place of my reading of Talking Points Memo and Washington Monthly and other political blogs, but it's still a little weird to me.