Thursday, March 15, 2012

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

I'm still in full NFL mode.  The majority of my sports focus is on free agency and the draft, but with spring training winding down and opening day of major league baseball closing in, I've been trying to prepare myself for baseball season by watching Ken Burns' Baseball.  I've realised something very important, Ken Burns needs to learn the meaning of the word editing.  Baseball is not an exciting enough sport that you can afford to really slow it down and not put people to sleep.  There are 10 episodes, roughly 2 hours each, and so far I've made it through 3 and a half and it took over 6 hours just to get up to Babe Ruth.  I almost fell asleep on the bus ride home today while watching.  I've seen a few other Ken Burns documentaries, and they are all extremely long, slow moving, and self indulgent.  I don't know that I'll make it through before opening day.  I did learn something important though.  Rube was a much more popular nickname a century ago than it is today.  I'm going to have to nickname one of my acquaintances Rube, I don't yet know which one. 

I watched parts of the Mariners spring training games that were televised on Wednesday and Thursday nights.  There are quite a few guys I'm not familiar with, and I think this is going to be another long season.  I'm already tired of Rick Rizzs' terrible nicknames.  I can't sit through another season of just slapping a y on half of somebody's name.  A true professional broadcaster would be more creative.  This year I'm pushing for broad acceptance for Carpe Bat - or seize the bat in Latin - for Mike Carp.  And Peg Leg for Carlos Peguero if he makes the major league roster.

On the subject of announcing, I've decided that if I were an announcer, my home run call would be, "ding dong, the pitch is dead!"  If you can come up with something better, I'd like to hear it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Left Hand

For no particular reason, other than to prepare myself for the possibility of injuring my right hand and being unable to use it, I decided today to make it a goal to be able to do things left handed by the end of the year.  I'm starting out slowly with seemingly easy tasks and plan to work my way up to more complex tasks.  Step #1:  brush my teeth left handed.  This seems like it should be easy enough, but feels extremely awkward and difficult thus far.  I have no doubt that my 2 and 3 year old nieces brush their teeth with greater confidence and skill than I do with my left hand.  I estimate it shouldn't take longer than a month to master, although by that time I may need a trip to the dentist to get some fillings.  Maybe I'll do a little left handed hair combing as well for some additional practice.

From there I think I'll move on to throwing footballs and baseballs left handed.  I experimented with left handed throwing in high school and college and found it exceptionally difficult.  I'd say I threw like a girl, but I most girls throw more gracefully than I do lefty.  When I can throw an accurate fastball, I'll move on to the curve.  Of course, I can't throw a curve worth a damn righty, so any hopes of getting any movement opposite handed are pretty far fetched.  While in the sports milieu, I'll also see if I can serve a volleyball left handed, and maybe play tennis lefty.  I've been batting lefty for many years so I think playing tennis shouldn't be too hard to master.  Based on past experience, however, I think it may take longer than the remainder of the year to learn to throw. 

The final step will be doing some rudimentary writing and drawing.  I think that may be the fevered dream of a madman though.  I currently draw with all the skill of a trained chimp.  A poorly trained chimp at that, so writing legibly might be an unrealistic expectation.  I can always stick with typing if I have to. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Annual Daylight Savings Rant

It's no secret that I can't stand Daylight Savings Time.  I see absolutely no benefit to it, only detriments.  And so it is that I will once again subject the world to my annual diatribe.  In the past I've discussed the rise in traffic accidents the first week that DST goes into effect, so this year I'll shift my focus to lost productivity.  According to this article, millions of dollars are lost at this time each year because employees are less focused and spend more time on non-work related activities.

“Using existing data that shows that people exhibit poorer self-control when they're tired, the researchers said that the lost sleep due to the time change -- an average of 40 minutes that Sunday night -- makes employees less likely to self-regulate their behavior and more inclined to spend time cyberloafing, or surfing the Internet for personal pursuits while on the clock,” according to a Penn State report on the research.

The article also attributes some lost productivity to DST coinciding with March Madness, however I will focus only on the time change.  Just to provide some anecdotal evidence of my own, I witnessed 3 co-workers chatting instead of working for at least 30 minutes. While it's entirely possible this has nothing to do with DST, it's at least coincidental.

I've got a reasonable proposal.  If we absolutely must change our clocks twice a year (and I see no reason why we should) instead of shocking everyone with the hour change, why not ease into it by changing 10 minutes a day for 6 days.  That would be much easier to adjust to.  Otherwise I have to start looking at jobs in Arizona or one of the other states that doesn't recognize DST.