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All year long, Baseball America inexplicably ranked Oregon State higher than anyone else with a poll - and invariably higher than a Vanderbilt team that was cleaning house on a run to the SEC co-championship. So the draw in the NCAA Baseball Tournament Super Regionals was exactly what the 'Dores wanted.

Game one - OSU 1, Vandy 11.

Game two - Vandy 9, OSU 3.

NCAA Tournament thus far: Vandy (5-0) 46, Everybody Else Combined 7.

I don't know whether the proper music is "The Dambusters March" for Aaron Westlake's three home runs tonight, or "All Of The Lights" for the extra lighting ESPN brought in to broadcast in HD, or "Sweet Caroline" and "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" for all our Northeastern guys (we do so much Red Sox shtick that we even have Carl Yastrzemski's grandson on the roster, and he had a homer in yesterday's game), or "The Edge Of Glory" for Sonny Gray, first-round pick of the Oakland A's, who with Grayson Garvin and Corey Williams and Will Clinard delivered masterful pitching for 18 innings...

...but if we have to go with just one song, it's going to be the Pet Shop Boys.

We're off to Omaha. ANCHOR DOWN!!

cleanup completed

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We are now running on WordPress 3.1, through the kind offices of our host here at Halibut World Domination and Light Agro-Industrial Holdings, Ltd. URL is the same; I don't know how it will treat RSS feeds but I guess we'll find out when people stop getting notices. In the meantime, you might want to go to the homepage at iwasmisinformed.com and resubscribe if you see this bit (only posting to old MT site).

Where do we go from here?

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(cross-posted from Anchor of Gold)

Vanderbilt finishes the regular season 21-9, 9-7 in the conference, with the 11th loss in 12 season finales under Kevin Stallings. The inability to close out the half all year is mirrored in sinister fashion by our inability to finish the year strong time and again. (Come home, Shan Foster, all is forgiven. What? Eligibility? Damn.)

It's hard not to shake the sense that this year's team has radically underachived. Everyone came into the year wondering if we could replace Beal and Ogilvy, but sure that Jeffery Taylor would make it happen. Instead, we got the pleasant surprise of a potential SEC player of the year in John Jenkins and possibly the most improved player in college basketball in Festus Ezili. But Taylor never consistently lived up to the preseason hype, and the team played most of the year without their top "glue guy" in Andre Walker - and while twenty-one wins are nothing to sneeze at, the number of leads blown, collapses down the stretch, and inexplicable halftime deficits suggest that this is a team that has never yet played up to its full potential.

So now what? If you believe the Tennessean, the vultures are circling the Big Three, telling them they're ready for the NBA. I don't see them all going - not after Festus Ezili is on record in SI saying that he has to have his degree first - but we have to acknowledge the possibility that while none of the notional nine-man rotation HAS to leave, we could find ourselves without one or more of Jenkins, Taylor, Ezili and Walker before practice starts up next October. Next year also brings us two new guards and a couple of big bodies off the redshirt. We are not necessarily in a full-blown "the future is now" situation the way we were in, say, 2008. But unless this team digs down deep and finds it in themselves to maximize their potential in March, we're going to spend yet another offseason wondering how the wheels came off at the end again. We may be better off with a Thursday date in the SEC tournament, just for the sake of having an easy opponent that we might be able to use to work up some momentum and get back in the swing of things. Whatever the circumstances, something's got to give, because the way we're playing right now isn't going to get us very far.

On the bright side, we can count on one thing: at least we'll be spared that accursed 4 seed in the Big Dance this time around.

...but this is a message for Vanderbilt's student section:

If a ref runs off the floor at Memorial NOT afraid for his personal safety, YOU'RE NOT DOING YOUR JOB.

I'm sick of the bullshit calls from the most incompetent and thin-skinned bunch of worthless assholes in America.

Fork pls? Thank you

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Mike Huckabee isn't running for President in 2012. Set aside the fact that he was not suspended-pending-dismissal by Fox the way Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were - that bit of chicanery could always be finessed later. No, you can tell Huckabee's not running because only a couple days after giving a show of fealty to the birther crowd, he has now taken a shot at Natalie Portman for being an unwed mother.

The reason I was telling everybody in 2007 to keep an eye out for Mike Huckabee was because he was not your bog-standard Southern Republican. He had an interesting personal story (his massive weight loss) and a hook into a policy issue (his interest in public health and nutrition). He played a mean bass (for a sitting governor). He was willing to stray from GOP orthodoxy in ways that worked nicely with populist interest (his unwillingness to kowtow to the Club for Growth). And he had a personality that made everyone who watched him think "You know, this is not an unreasonable guy. He seems like a pleasant enough fellow."

That sort of thing goes away quickly when you're on the radio discussing how the President "has an anti-colonial view" because he was "raised in Kenya" and "hates the British" and "gave back the bust of Winston Churchill." Now, I could be wrong, but my understanding is that a) the bust of Churchill was moved to the residence, not given back, b) the President was actually born and raised in Hawaii by his grandparents, and c) the United States was formed as the result of AN ANTI-COLONIAL REBELLION AGAINST THE BRITISH. And this is how I know Mike Huckabee's not going to run for President, because he's pushed all his chips in on playing to the Stupids.

It's the same reason Sarah Palin isn't running. If you're on TV, you can bank a couple million dollars a year to take cheap shots and never be obligated to offer a solution, let alone one that abides by reason and logic. Even with the raise, you could never make the money in elected office that you can stealing it from NewsCorp. So obviously Huckleberry is going to keep cashing Rupert Murdoch's check - why wouldn't you?

More to the point, the fact that so many potential candidates are on Fox - and that Fox is setting rules as to how long you can stick around before being kicked off if you're not going to say one way or the other whether you're running - is proof, if any more were necessary, that the actual GOP machinery is far less important than Fox News in the strategic operation of the Republican Party. Fox News sets the priorities, employs the players, pumps the memes into public circulation, and apparently now decides the timetable for declaring when/if you're going to run for office. It's not unreasonable to speculate that the two major parties at present are the Democrats and Fox, with "Republicans" as merely a faction of the Fox Party.

Which is an extraordinarily unhealthy thing, for one very obvious reason: the needs of a for-profit broadcaster are not the needs of a political party in the electorate - or in governance. Which is why we get what we have. No sane governing party would have blown the first couple of months in office on assorted culture-war issues. Hell, no sane governor would have opened his career by taking an enormous deuce on some of his key supporters for the sake of ideological purity - yet Walker up in Wisconsin has managed to make enemies of the teachers, the firemen, the police AND the Green Bay Packers. That's bad arithmetic.

But the Fox Party isn't about governance. It's about maintaining the special world in which the viewers of Fox are simultaneously the martyred minority holding out against the forces of evil and the righteous majority who represent Real America. It's about making sure that people tune in every day and every night to be told how right they are and how scary the rest of the world is. It's about keeping the team fired up and racking up wins.

And right now, it's making one hell of a mess.

Quick iPad 2 first thoughts

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Looks like the iPod Touch writ large - again. HD cameras for video with Facetime but none of the 5 MP still shooting. Which is fine, because I don't really think the iPad (or indeed the tablet format generally) is really optimal for shooting pics or video. Thinner, presumably lighter, but my question is - 512 MB of RAM? Or more? If it's still 256 that's going to be a problem. No sign yet, though, that it'll do Apple Remote Desktop or that the browser will support things like Remedy or ESPN3 (damn you Flash!) so my next device is still the 11" MacBook Air until further notice...

1) Physical keyboard text entry without carrying a Bluetoof

2) ESPN3

3) Apple Remote Desktop

4) FaceTime

Of these, the only one I expect to change significantly in the next week is 4). On the other hand, when my work laptop will do all of them, it hardly bears looking at a new computing device. But then, I'm the person who researched cars for THREE YEARS against the day my Saturn would finally give up the ghost - and when it happened, I had the Rabbit all picked out and ready to go, and no complaints for it. Preparedness matters, people.

A Fugitive Looks At Thirty-Nine

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Twenty-one years ago, I woke up after what I thought was the worst night of my life. I had found out at dinner the night before that I hadn't gotten the full-tuition package from Vanderbilt. I had promptly locked myself in my room with the lights out listening to Edie Brickell sing "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" on a loop and not come out until morning, where a surprise was waiting for me when I got to school.

See, I was turning 18, which means that I was legally entitled to look in my file, at the "permanent record" and see what was said about me from the very beginnings of my educational career. Including what I'd actually scored on that test all those years ago that had branded me with the scarlet G for the rest of my academic career. I got to school, the receptionist presented me with the file, and I opened it to read a letter at the top that was a review of my academic standing as of the end of the 1985-86 school year as I got ready to go to high school. It rated me as being a rounding-error away from dropping below the minimum threshold and suggested that I needed remedial work if I were to qualify for my high school. It went on at length, continued on the back page, where I flipped it over to see "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!" At which point the small crowd that had developed without my notice exploded with laughter and presented me with a T-shirt - plain black marker on undershirt, the traditional style of my alma mater - with the actual number in huge numerals on the back.

Looking back, I don't think I appreciated it as much as I do now, or should have - but that was largely due to the mutual reinforcing traumas of Valentine's Day and the sudden end of my college search. I knew I wasn't going to Vanderbilt now - I had full ride offers and more from both Alabama and the school I ended up attending, and I called the latter that afternoon to accept. Obviously, had I known what was to come, I would have insisted on taking the offer from Vanderbilt and eating the loans, and doing everything in my power to make Vanderbilt possible, because that decision is one that ultimately ended up taking most of the 1990s to recover from. So it goes.

I say that to say this: tonight, there is someone out there who was born into the world at the moment I was looking at that piece of paper. And tonight that person is going out and getting well and truly legally plastered with his or her friends. Because it's been just that long.

Half a life ago would put me in late 1991, a time when I was starting to undergo some serious transformation. My sports interest spiked for the first time, I smoked for the first time, I discovered that professional football existed before the Super Bowl era, I discovered that my college existed before the 1970s, and I picked up the trombone for the first time in over five years and joined the bands - largely to give myself an ironclad excuse to be at every game, girlfriend or not.

Now? I don't know. I don't feel 39. I don't feel like this is going to be some kind of big odometer rollover. And I know for a fact that I probably won't feel any different from mid-February 2012 to mid-April 2012, barring a Vanderbilt national title in basketball, because when you get right down to it, our lives aren't measured out in easily-demarcated years. They're measured in random eras - places lived, loves lost, championship seasons, cars driven, a million overlapping criteria that let us look back and try to gauge the distance we've come.

There's not really anything I want for my birthday this year. Nothing I can buy with money, anyway. I have had everything I wanted in my life, even if I don't have all of it anymore, or want all of it anymore, and even if I would like some more of what I already had (there's probably a new Timbuk2 messenger coming sooner rather than later, and will probably get a bunch of custom work done to boot). For today and tonight, though, I'm content with another cup of coffee, dinner with friends, and turning in early to snuggle with my sweetie. Tomorrow will take care of itself. You play the days like you play the games: one at a time.

Note re: comments

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So since the last time I went to muck out (January 19), the spam filter has trapped exactly 29 spam comments out of 3816. That's bad arithmetic. So I'm probably going to turn off comments again until I can sort out some other mechanism for handling the detritus of the Internet.

Thank you. Now back to spazzing out.

thinking out loud

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I don't currently own a laptop of any kind. All my mobility computing is in my iPhone and in my work laptop. For some reason I found myself thinking back over the various portable machines I've had (including during that stretch where I was entitled to any Apple laptop I wanted for work/home use...and other times when work just sort of provided). In roughly reverse chronological order...

Dell netbook (Mini 1012)

2nd-gen black MacBook

1st-gen black MacBook

pre-production original MacBook Pro 15"

12" Powerbook G4

12" iBook G4

15" Titanium PowerBook G4

original gray iBook G3 SE

original bronze PowerBook G3

14" 233Mhz "Main Street" PowerBook G3 (first laptop, bought in 1999)

The common theme here seems to be "consumer-grade low-cost and small". Note that the move to a larger system has always been occasioned by a more powerful processor, and has always been succeeded by a smaller device with the same processor. (Aside from the netbook experiment, which was a special circumstance solely occasioned by the availability of Dell credit and birthday money.) On paper, at least, anything less than a 2.66 Ghz Core 2 Duo or 4 GB of RAM is a non-starter at this point.

I bring this up because this time next week we'll know what's doing with the iPad 2. Which I have to think will include some sort of iOS update, whether to a notional iOS 5 or just a bump in 4. The combination of iPhone and Kindle has pretty much done for my previous bouts of iPad glee, but I'm still tempted - maybe because of the constant allure of Alan Kay's notional Dynabook in the back of my head, maybe because I think I might actually do more blogging and writing and try to make something of it besides sharing the misery of Vanderbilt sports.

But I'm definitely saving my birthday money for a bit.