28 February 2009

Link of the day: shirt.woot

I like the t-shirt site Threadless but most of their designs are too hippy for my taste. Recently, I discovered a new site called shirt.woot which is similar in principle (people submit designs and the most popular ones are printed). The site is a little different than Threadless in that t-shirts are continually printed as long as they are in the top 20 most popular designs. Each week, there is a "day of reckoning" when the shirts that fall off the top 20 list stop being made. Also, rather than having random designs, a weekly design contest with theme ("the derby") is held. Some recent themes were "the sea," "exercise," and "individualism." I think the creative restriction results in better designs. I find that I like shirt.woot designs much better than the Threadless designs. Some designs I like are "Sun Wukong" and "Some motivation required."

27 February 2009

Google News

I finally gave up on the New York Times as my source of RSS-based news. There are too many articles and despite their length, I never feel like I really learned more. It didn't help that the New York Times US news feed stopped working for me.

I've always preferred the Wall Street Journal's take on the same topic. I still get my business news from the Wall Street Journal, but now I get my US and world news from Google News (US feed, world feed). The advantage is that each feed is capped at 20 posts a day and the news is drawn from many sources.

22 February 2009

Song of the day: "Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered" by Rodgers and Hart

Supposedly one of the most famous songs by the songwriting team Rodgers and Hart. It's a very touching song with a beautiful melody. "Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered" was used as the title for a very funny Season 2 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But that's not why I looked up this song! I happened to be flipping through a Playbill and read a short article about Pal Joey.

From the musical Pal Joey
Music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Lorenz Hart
After one whole quart of brandy
Like a daisy I awake
With no Bromo Seltzer handy,
I don't even shake.

Men are not a new sensation;
I've done pretty well, I think.
But this half-pint imitation
Put me on the blink

I'm wild again
Beguiled again
A simpering, whimpering child again
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I

Couldn't sleep
And wouldn't sleep
Until I could sleep where I shouldn't sleep
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I

Lost my heart but what of it?
My mistake I agree.
He's a laugh, but I like it
Because the laugh's on me.

A pill he is
But still he is
All mine and I'll keep him until he is
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered
Like me.

Seen a lot
I mean I lot
But now I'm like sweet seventeen a lot
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I

I'll sing to him
Each spring to him
And worship the trousers that cling to him
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I

When he talks he is seeking
Words to get off his chest.
Horizontally speaking
He's at his very best.

Vexed again
Perplexed again
Thank God I can't be over-sexed again
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I

Link of the day: The Crisis of Credit Visualized

The recent world market turmoil has only impressed on me the importance of learning something about economics. I'm constantly confused about the different variables: X goes up which causes Y to go down, or is it up? This video "The Credit Crisis Visualized" is a successful attempt to teach the greater public some simple economics and explain "what the heck is going on."

20 February 2009

Link of the day: Pamela Douglas on TV dramas

As part of my interest in television, I've been watching some nice, informative videos by USC professor Pamela Douglas. I stumbled across them while trying to figure out how much a TV drama episode costs (answer: $2-$5 million).

Douglas gives very clear and insightful explanations about history and trends in TV drama as well as the mechanics of writing, funding, and producing TV dramas.

Note: I just discovered that Videojug (the site hosting the Douglas videos) allows you to download the videos and also read a text transcript. Reading the text is much faster than watching the video.

16 February 2009

15 Feb game recap vs Shelton Lady Tigers

Score: 2-2 tie
Opposition: We played the Shelton Lady Tigers. Sandy plays both with our team and the Lady Tigers, but I guess she must like them better than us because she played with them for this game! (Our coach kept yelling during the game "Hit Number 40! Hit Number 40!") Shelton wasn't as good as us. They had probably three really good players, but we had just as many and we were more skilled overall. The tie was really due to some unlucky goals and stellar goaltending by our opponent. The first goal was due to the fact that our goaltender was late and we had to play a sixth skater in the net. The second goal was scored when we were hanging onto a 2-1 lead with 9 seconds left. I have no idea how they scored, but I'm told that it was a lucky bounce.
Team performance: Our coach was very happy with our play and I agree. We had a ton of shots on net and some good passes.

My performance: I felt kind of off before the game. I wasn't really in the mood to play and it showed. I still did pretty well, but not as well as I could have. I played with Melissa and Liz S. for a period before I was switched to playing with Allison and Anne. I had some good chemistry with Allison. I crossed the red line on the attack and noticed Allison crossing my path. I drop passed to her, she picked it up and we went into the zone together. It was a nice play. I think I had two breakaways. Unfortunately, my shots were pathetic. I need to have a strategy on the breakaway. I try to shoot from too close. If I get in that close, I should go for the deke. On a breakout, I also drew a checking penalty. I have no idea why the girl decided to hit me.

I had a great scoring opportunity on the forecheck. The puck was dumped at the goalie and I skated after it with a defenseman trailing me. The goalie came out to handle the puck and dropped it behind the net (probably because I was so close, she couldn't throw it forward without risking bouncing it off me). I grabbed the puck and realized that I had the perfect wrap-around opportunity since I was a lefty. The goalie and defenseman scrambled to cover and we all ended up colliding and knocking the net off its post. I sprained my knee on the play and I wasn't really the same after that. I was pretty tired by that point and the fact that I couldn't push off my right leg quite right didn't help.

The coach had lots of criticism for me. I don't know why, but she seems to pay a lot of attention to me (mostly a good thing). She was unhappy about me gliding to the bench on a line change. I got distracted somehow and spaced out. She also told me that on one play, I was wasting time lifting an opponent's stick instead of going for the puck. I'm still confused about that play because I don't know what she was referring to. Then towards the end of the game, she got mad at me for changing when the puck was in our defensive zone. I feel like it was a borderline decision. I was playing wing on the bench side and our team had possession, so it didn't seem that bad. Hmm, well, at least the coach was happy about the checking penalty I drew.

10 February 2009

Free mailing lists on the web

I recently wanted to create a mailing list. I was familiar with creating and administering mailing lists on university servers, but that wasn't an option for this mailing list because most of the people on the list wouldn't be affiliated with a university. The obvious choices for free, web-based mailing lists were Yahoo Groups and Google Groups.

Google Groups was more sophisticated than Yahoo Groups, but it doesn't allow you to create a private mailing list that doesn't require members to have Google accounts. If you want to allow non-Google members, you have to make the mailing list public and I didn't think people would appreciate that. I also wanted people to be able to subscribe, unsubscribe, and post to the mailing list via email and not through a web interface. Yahoo Groups fit those requirements. It allows the mailing list administrator to moderate posts and approve new members (if desired). Members also have the option of receiving daily digests instead of individual emails. So, in the end, I went with Yahoo Groups.

09 February 2009

Quote of the day: Buffy Summers on pain

In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Earshot," Buffy accidentally obtains the power of telepathy. That seems really cool until Buffy starts hearing the thoughts of her classmates constantly -- all their worries, desires, thoughts. It's too much, the burden of knowing everyone's feelings.

She hears a voice in the school cafeteria threatening to kill everyone. Buffy is convinced that a student is planning mass murder. She sees Jonathan in a tower with a gun and confronts him. Buffy points out that he has all this pain and feelings and he's being ignored. Jonathan doesn't think Buffy would understand since she's beautiful and athletic. Then Buffy responds with the following speech:
You are an idiot. My life happens to, on occasion, suck beyond the telling of it. Sometimes more than I can handle. And it's not just mine. Every single person down there is ignoring your pain because they're too busy with their own... The beautiful ones. The popular ones. The guys that pick on you. Everyone... If you could hear what they were feeling. The loneliness. The confusion. It looks quiet down there. It's not. It's deafening.

08 February 2009

8 February game recap vs Simsbury Mother Ducks

Score: 7-1
Opposition: The Mother Ducks were much slower and less skilled than us. We could have easily run up the score against them. I'm guessing they were a team of mothers?? They didn't lack for effort though. When we slacked off, they got into our zone a few times.
Team performance: We were really sluggish in the first period probably due to our last two practices being cancelled. We played better in the later periods. We had a few good breakouts, but not as many as the coach would have liked.

My performance: The coach played in our game, due to lack of a full roster. That meant that I could actually hear her comments during the game. She enjoys yelling a lot. The first comment was that I was too high on the breakout. I was near the point instead of the hash marks. I suppose she was right. Our opponents weren't pinching in, so there was no need to be high. The second comment was that not to leave my feet so much. I sometimes engage in dramatic behavior -- diving to knock pucks away, etc. I don't think I do it too often, but it does get me pumped up a bit and I think that helps my game.

In general, I was pretty conservative because I hadn't skated much in the last week and I wasn't used to the hard ice. The rink was "outdoors" (not completely enclosed), but I didn't have any problems because the ice was good and the temperature was fairly warm. I played with Melissa and Mary. After the second period ended in our favor 6-1, the coach switched Melissa with Fran. I had a nice assist on Melissa's goal. We actually had a 3-0 attack on that play, so the goaltender really had no chance. I was pretty good around the net. I took a swipe at a rebound on one knee (unfortunately, missing the puck). I think I also screened a shot from the point by our coach, which scored. I was decent at picking up breakouts off the boards but my passing was non-existent or crappy. At the end of the game, I was winded, which was surprising to me, considering how much we were dominating the game. I forgot to take my inhaler, so maybe that was it.

My aunt and uncle were able to attend the game and I was happy that they got to see us win.

05 February 2009

Song of the day: "Behind blue eyes" performed by Limp Bizkit

A haunting, moody song.

Written by Pete Townshend
No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes
And no one knows
What it's like to be hated
To be fated to telling only lies

But my dreams they aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That's never free

No one knows what its like
To feel these feelings
Like i do, and i blame you!
No one bites back as hard
On their anger
None of my pain and woe
Can show through


No one knows what its like
To be mistreated, to be defeated
Behind blue eyes
No one knows how to say
That they're sorry and don't worry
I'm not telling lies


No one knows what its like
To be the bad man, to be the sad man
Behind blue eyes.