Category Archives: Thoughts

Saturday baseball series 4-17-21

Last week I said I should start a series about baseball. Baseball and series seem to go together naturally. So why not?

This series will cover things like the rules of baseball over time, my experiences playing baseball, my experiences broadcasting baseball, and my experiencing broadcasting overall.

When I went to UCSB, I took the opportunity to broadcast sports. The origin story will be in some future post, but this one, I’ll limit to to broadcasting baseball.

When I the KCSB-FM Sports Staff, I was very interested in broadcasting baseball. I had played baseball as a child, in high school, Senior Little League, an LA municipal league. I grew up watching the Dodgers and listening to Vin Scully. I was born shortly before the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988, and until recently, it was easy to recite how long it had been since the boys in blue had been able to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Unfortunately for me, there was a lot of competition on KCSB Sports staff for baseball games.

Fortunately for the listeners of KCSB, though, there was a lot of competition on KCSB Sports staff for baseball games, and I had no seniority.

I got to cover games for the Gaucho Sports Spot, which was awesome. I sat near the guys who were calling the games for the radio station. Regularly, they were John Greely and Matt Connolly and I think Marco Alfandary. I could be wrong. But I think it was those three.

That’s not to say that these guys were selfish. They weren’t. KCSB Sports was known for being welcoming and inclusive. But with more time comes more experience that makes you better, so priority makes sense–especially for the big games.

They’d have their headphones on and talk about the game. They’d reference other games and statistics and they’d compare what was going on in front of all of us to something that had happened in a prior year.

Now, I knew that to broadcast sports properly, research was extremely important.

You don’t know what you’ll be faced with, so you have to overprepare. And then use a miniscule amount of what you found because it doesn’t enhance a listener’s experience to talk about something unrelated to the game solely because it’s the result of research.

I knew that the written play-by-play of each game is generally easily available on a college team’s website, but who can remember every single play from reading that and put it into context in real time?

After one game, I asked them how they did it.

“Huh? Research those stories? No, we were there. We saw those things happen. Dude how could we have known to look that up?”

Later I got to do the same.

Baseball is back!

Yesterday (today when I’m writing this) was Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. This reminds of near to when Calah and I were newly dating.

My friend Joe Scala came to visit from New York, and as we had gone to a Yankee game when I visited him (story on that another time), he and I went to Chavez Ravine during his trip out here. Calah joined us.

We got tickets near the foul pole in right field.

I don’t remember who won, but it was a lot of fun. We took Uber there and back, and the Uber story is worth telling, too. I think this is the first part of a baseball series.

Aren’t you excited?

Passover Seder: Wise and Wicked Sons

Hello from the first day of Passover! There will be no Spelling Bee post tonight because I won’t be at my computer again until tomorrow night. I’ve started writing this post in advance. It’s actually the evening of March 1 right now.

Each Passover means something different to me, and each part is a reminder of how the core of the holiday is to remember to challenge what you’re told.

That’s not to say that all that you’re told is wrong.

It’s important to try to figure out if it makes sense.

The rules of Passover (e.g. no leavened bread) are unusual. That there’s tons of cleaning involved in order to avoid even the chance of consuming leavening is extreme. And crazy.

But that’s the point.

We’re supposed to ask why we’re doing weird stuff.

It’s easy to fall into a rut. it’s easy for every day to look the same. If you’re numb to everything going on around you, it’s easy to become complacent. This holiday is a real shakeup.

But for those who still just follow along, the Seder has many points where it reminds just to ask.

Why is this night different from all other nights? is the most famous of them.

There’s a section with the Four Sons. There’s a wise son, a wicked son, a simple son, and a son who doesn’t even know to ask.

The wise son and wicked son ask very similar questions:

Wise son essentially asks: “What are these things that the almighty has commanded you to do?”

Wicked son essentially asks: “Of what purpose is this work to you?”

Every year I’ve wondered what the difference is because the explanation to each is different.

The wise son is told some cool stuff about the holiday while the wicked son is told to scram.

Neither the wicked son nor the wise son necessarily comes with prior knowledge or belief. Neither son necessarily leaves agreeing with what’s said to him.

I realized only this year that a difference is the willingness to discuss openly. The wise son is willing to have a conversation. The wise son is challenging in order to hear something. The wicked son is challenging to, you know, be a dick.

But you can’t learn anything simply by being a dick.

Arboreal upset in windy Los Angeles

Whoosh! LA has been crazy with sustained winds in the teens and gusts in the 30s and above. This has led

From the craigslist post

Someone posted on craigslist free stuff that there’s a tree for free with curbside pickup.

I find it extra funny that the tree itself picked up part of the curbside.

I saved a copy of the post to archive.org so it would last for forever.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

How I picked my bracket

My March Madness bracket fails too early too frequently. After hearing about Nick Dopuch’s CoinFlipBets as a way to determine which teams would win football games, I decided to try my hand at creating a bracket with random selections.

Flipping a coin 63 times isn’t difficult. However, it is error-prone, as it may depend on if you start the coin as heads-up or tails-up and other issues.

So I used the =rand() function in Excel.

The drawback of =rand() is that every time Excel does anything afterward, the cells that contain =rand() produce a new random number.

I decided to run all 63 at once and then copy and paste values.

Because these operations made me lose the first number, I jotted that one down.

I then made an A or B formula where if the random number is great than 0.5 on the 0-to-1 range, show a B; otherwise show an A.

A’s represented the team written physically above its opponent in the bracket. The B’s represented the team written physically below its opponent in the bracket.

The random A or B would determine how I would mark my bracket.

For the championship game between 15 Iona and 8 Loyola Chicago, I divined Loyola Chicago’s score of 72 over Iona’s 68.

As of Friday afternoon, this hasn’t worked perfectly. But there’s a ton of basketball left to play!

Spring Break

I’ve seen the videos of spring breakers on the beach in Florida and elsewhere. It’s not the pandemic that’s making me question what they’re doing. Well, OK, yeah, it is. But it’s not JUST the pandemic that’s confusing me about what they’re doing.

See, when I was in college, spring break was a break from the classes and the homework and everything. You got relief from the heavy learning you were doing.

Except I went to UCSB. The school gave you access to really whatever you wanted to do at the fullest. You want to learn from extremely accomplished professors? Go for it! You want to study all the time? You got it! You wanna get drunk and party? Tons of opportunity there, too. It was pretty great.

With remote learning in college now, what do people have to spring break from? If they don’t care about pandemic, what’s been stopping them? Sure, Halloween was more partying in Santa Barbara back then, but that was mostly out of towners who converged on UCSB to go crazy.

If I were in college now and didn’t care about distancing requirements, I don’t know that I would have the motivation to go to a crazy spring break.

But that’s just me.

Stay safe, everyone! We’re getting close to emerging from this pandemic if we can just hold out a little longer.

Remember travel?

It’s Friday afternoon, and thoughts have gone to fantasy honeymoon plans.

This week Calah and I started watching The Amazing Race together. We began with the first episode of Season 2. I had traveled the world alone for Season 1.

The world looks so weird in that show.

I know that part of it is that it’s filmed for broadcast in standard definition, and another part is how low-tech everything was compared to today.

But mainly it’s the who thing about going to airports and to places that are, you know, not within walking distance.

People are packed in close to one another. What are masks?

Season 2 also was filmed shortly after 9/11, and one non-New Yorker wears an FDNY beanie.

And then we got to an episode where they are in Thailand and have to go into a cave with bats. They’re provided masks and boots so they can keep safe.

Calah and I recognized the N95 masks immediately, and Calah lamented, “There was endless supply of N95 masks then!”

We’re hoping to be able to go to Islay together. I went there right after our first date, and when I talked about her to the bartender at the Laphroaig distillery, the dude looked at me and asked me what I was doing there? Like why wasn’t I already back in LA?

I did luck out that she didn’t forget about me by the time I got back weeks later. It might have had something to do with asking her before my trip if she wanted to go to the Magic Castle for our second date. Hard to believe that that’s coming up on two years ago.

A day to sleep in

Hello from Friday afternoon, everyone! I’m tired from this week and don’t have the wherewithal to write much. I do have some exciting news:

I have made more significant progress on the chairs project. I hadn’t really expected to learn so much about upholstery. But there’s that component.

When the chairs project is complete, I’ll begin a series on another end table project. This is a set of two end tables. It’s a matching set, but each table has its own set of challenges.

They had to travel far just to get to me. Here’s what they looked like in Albuquerque, NM:

Stay safe, everyone!

What’s gone on today?

As I do, I’ve written this post on Friday afternoon. I’ve set the computers up to let me know what’s going on in the world subsequent to today’s impeachment-related events. One of them is prepared for the 10am ET start of the continuation of activities with this live stream that starts at 9am ET. The problem is that I’m in LA, so that’s a 6am start.

The evidence is overwhelming, and the defense attorneys are so, so bad.

The expectation is that there will be no conviction. I hope that they’re wrong.

Jamie Raskin, Ted Lieu, Joaquin Castro, Joe Neguse, and Stacey Plaskett, were phenomenal, and Madelene Dean and Eric Swalell put on fine performances.

I just now learned that Joaquin Castro is Julian Castro’s identical twin. I thought he looked like that guy! I was right.

I won’t be able to live tweet today, but I may be yelling as things happen.