28 October 2006

Wake me up when October ends

I've grown to hate October.  I used to like this month.  We usually have decent weather.  The fall colors are in full bloom.  I like football.  It's a nice lull-month that exists between summer's end and the holiday season.

I don't care about any of that stuff anymore.  I hate October.  Why?  Two words:

1. base

2. ball

Let's review, shall we?

October 2003: the Cubs win three of the first four games of their playoff series with the Florida Marlins, needing to win only one of three possible remaining games to advance to the World Series for the first time in my life.  They lose all three, the final two in spectacular Cubs-only fashion at Wrigley Field.  The Marlins go on to crush the Yankees to win the World Series, convincing me that if the Cubs had actually made it that far, they would have beat the Yankees too.

October 2004: the Cubs implode in the beginning of the month and blow their playoff spot.  The St. Louis Cardinals make the World Series.  I get phone calls IMMEDIATELY after the Cardinals win the National League pennant from Cardinals fans in the stadium for the sole purpose of reminding me that it's not the Cubs going to the World Series.  The Boston Red Sox win the World Series for the first time since 1918, ending the third longest championship drought in the game (the Cubs, of course, are first at 1908).

October 2005: the Cubs implode before October, but the White Sox win the most games (99) during the regular season and then coast to a 11-1 record in the post-season, winning their first World Series since 1917, ending the second longest championship drought in the game.  I get several phone calls from Sox fans reminding me that it was not the Cubs that just won the World Series. 

October 2006: while karma suggests that this should be the year that the Cubs end their drought, the Cubs finish one of their worst season ever (66-96).  Their most heated rival, the St. Louis Cardinals, win the World Series despite winning only 83 games during the regular season.  I get phone calls the second the last out of the final game is made, reminding me that it was not the Cubs who just wonthe World Series.

I have no possible idea how October 2007 could possibly be any worse.  I will be living in sheer terror through next September.

Here's what has really frosted my ass these last two years: fans of both the Sox and the Cardinals who have seemed much more focused on my misery than their own happiness.  I'd be happy for these people if they were just a tad more humble.  Why am I supposed to be happy?  Envy does not make me happy.  I don't begrudge those that get to celebrate (that would be jealousy) but I don't understand why you have to share your "glee" of my misfortune with me.

My turncoat nephew used to be a Sox fan, which was hard enough for me to accept, but he went over to the even darker side a few years ago when he moved to Southern Illinois and became a Cardinals fan.  He missed out last year, his choice, but gets it all remedied this year.  Brilliant.  He's twenty.

I'll be forty next year.  I've spent the last four Octobers eating my heart out.  Rip, eat, regenerate, repeat.  I'm full.  Next year, should someone "remind" me that the Cubs did not win the World Series, I'm going to rip my heart out and feed it to them.

I will end this by putting on my Cubs jersey and doing my best impersonation of Joan Cusack:

"Is EVERYBODY winning the World Series???"


23 October 2006

One quick question

Why do the television commercials for Kentucky Fried Chicken use "Sweet Home Alabama" for their theme?

13 October 2006

The latest edition of "Did that really happen?"

As if to prove my point from my previous entry, the edit controls are back.  I have no idea why.  To celebrate, I give you...(wait for it)...


I've written before about some strange stuff that goes on around me from time to time.  I never thought I would write about Ethel Rosenberg, but I did a few months ago after the night time sky freaked me out.  And I'm trying to find a few others, but the "search journals" feature is total crap.  I know one of the entries has to do with Duran Duran.  You'd think that if I search this journal for that, I'd get the entry.  But no, I get a web site that tries to sell me concert tickets.

Anyway, middle of last week, I'm sitting at the kitchen table doing some schoolwork while my wife is over on the couch checking out what is on TV.  She stops and I hear singing and when I look up there are four women singing "Heatwave" (while I grew up on the Linda Ronstadt version, the very best is Joan Osborne's from "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."  Sorry, Martha).  It's only on for a moment, long enough for me to hear them sing "And I'm filled with..." before she changes the channel.  There's one last word in that line of the song that we did not hear.

We have digital cable, so when you go to a new station there is a display at the bottom of the screen that tells you what is on.  So what do you suppose was the title of the program on the very next channel?


Which just happens to be the word that completes the lyric we heard to "Heatwave."

Perhaps I'm making a bit too much of it, but this kind of stuff freaks me out.  I'm completing the lyric in my head, and I see the same word displayed on the next channel.  It's like mental Karoeke.  Think about it-what are the odds that we are going to turn on the tv even at the time these shows are on, that we would see the show with the women singing at that particular time, turn the channel when we did, immediately to a show with a title that completes the lyric?

I could live one million years and I'm sure it would never happen again.

Doing my homework on the back of a shovel

Do I have the right to bitch about amazing advances in technology when they don't work, or should I just be thankful that I am not forced to read by candle light?

One of the reasons why I haven't updated here in over a week (besides a lot of school work, obviously) is that I seem to be in the midst of an extended example of Murphy's Law applied to computers.  We have both a laptop and desk top in our home.  I prefer the laptop for many reasons, but a week ago last Sunday it stopped recgonizing the wireless network.  I've had issues in the past where it loses the connection, but it's always been temporary.  This is different.  I've taken the laptop other places with wireless and it works, so I know that it isn't a bad card, and since the network is routed through the desk top and I can get Internet on that, I know it is not the router.  I'm completely dumbfounded.

So any and all Internet activity has been restricted to the desk top for almost two weeks now, which is not all that bad, except that the wireless mouse has been acting up for a bit as well.  I keep replacing the batteries, which works for a bit, but inevitably it stops working again.  This morning, about an hour ago, it got even better: one of the AA batteries in the mouse exploded.  I was a few feet away putting clothes in the dryer when I heard a loud pop and while I was sure it came from the area by the computer I had no idea what it actually was until I saw a white foam leaking from the mouse.  It looked like a mad dog had just licked it.  I cleaned it up, replaced the batteries (again...) and it seems to be working well for now, but I can't help but feel that I should be wearing a HAZMAT suit right about now.

I've updated from the desk top before, as I am doing now, but I have lost the ability to do so when signed directly on to AOL.  For some reason, when I access the journal from AOL, the controls to the right of the title area, where the "add entires, edit entries, etc" tabs are located, are gone.  It's like I've gone to someone else's journal.  I have no idea what has happened, nor is anyone at AOL in a hurry to help me fix the problem.  I guess this is what happens when you start getting service for free.  So I am writing this in Mozilla Firefox, which is fine, except that I can't spell check this and I am uncertain how this will look when it is finished.

These are all things I couldn't have even dreamed about doing maybe ten years ago, yet the aggravation over having it malfunction now is incredibly frustrating.  And as I write this very sentence, the CD I have playing downstairs starts repeating aimlessly.  It sounds like Michael Stipe's voice is suddenly a machine gun.

Nothing ruins the mood to write more than the need to troubleshoot.

04 October 2006

98 turns to 99

This entry-every-eight-days-or-so crap is gotta change.

Bruno update: he's gone.  I think it was last Friday when I noticed that the web was tattered and he was nowhere in sight.  I have been on DefCon 36 ever since, but I don't think he is inside the house.  I've never seen a spider of that size indoors, unless it was in a cage.  Oh man, I'm hyperventilating just thinking about this.  It's been pretty warm here lately (last night, October 3, I came thisclose to sleeping with the AC on.  Yeah, global warming is all just a myth) so I'm thinking Bruno either shuffled off to Buffalo or a lion happened to creep onto our deck and got him.  If that was the case, I'm sure he put up a hell of a fight.  Somehow, I get the feeling that I haven't seen the last of him. 

Speaking of shuffling off, Dusty Baker is done.  I have been very quiet about baseball this summer, pretty much because I realized that I was obsessing about the sordid state of the Cubs, and it was going to kill me unless I let it go.  I can't remember a more depressing summer than this one, and I've seen a lot of depressing baseball in my life.    They were absolutely terrible this year, and Baker did a terrible job as manager this season.  I'm amused by all the press coverage these last few days, especially those expressing sympathy for Baker.  Yeah, the guy made about sixteen million dollars in four years and gets to leave with his reputation still somewhat intact.  It's crazy to think that he is done managing.

Don't cry for Dusty, Argentina.  Cry for the mopes like me instead.  We get nothing, except another winter full of angst as we all crawl closer to the 100th anniversary of the last Cubs World Series Championship team.  Next year will be year 99.  Might as well bury a time capsule.  I'd like nothing more than to reach the point with the Cubs that I did with the Chicago Blackhawks, where I just had enough and realized that the people who own that team don't care about winning, so why should I?  But it's never going to happen.  I don't have hockey in my blood.  I don't have almost thirty-five years of blind allegiance to the Blackhawks like I do the Cubs, a team that hooked me when I was in kindergarten, for God's sake, and hasn't let me go since.  Do youthink I enjoy this?  Not anymore.  I did something this summerthat I have not done since 1984: I did not go to one single game at Wrigley Field this year.  I couldn't.  I can't go there knowing that I'm just going to have to wait.  People die everyday that spent almost their entire lives waiting, waiting, waiting for the Cubs to win a World Series.  And I am well on that track.  It doesn't matter if I think they will win (which I do, obviously, or I would have rationally given this up a while ago); I've been thinking that they would win since 1974.  That's the problem.  I'm delusional.  In a month or so, when the front office starts shaping up the roster for next season, I'll get into it.  By the time April gets here, I'll be in it like I was a kid again.  It's pathetic.  It's who I am.

There's a documentary on HBO this month about the Cubs.  It's the most depressing sixty minutes of television I have watched since the wrap up of the 2004 election.  It's nothing more than an account of the ridiculous events that have befallen this franchise since it's last World Series peppered with commentary from a slew of fans, some well-known, some not.  There are some stunningly idiotic people featured on this show.  And I'm sitting there watching this thinking that I'm just like all of them.  If there was a pill I could take that would make me violently ill every time I thought about the Cubs, I'd take it in a heartbeat in the hopes that I would finally realize how toxic they (the Cubs) can be.

So enough of that.  I'm sure that anyone who doesn't follow sports thinks I am nuts, but I'd wager a lot of people out there know exactly what I am talking about.