Oops Part I

Sleep deprivation began catching up with me today at the office, so I downed two cans of Red Bull. I'd never really tried it before except for once at a rave, and it didn't seem to affect me then. I'd seen lots of engineers around the office sipping it in meetings, and given the cloudy, addled state of my mind and my general drowsiness I decided I needed the chemical boost.
I don't take a lot of caffeine, and those two cans of Red Bull gave me heart palpitations. I nearly had a panic attack during a meeting. I'm not joking. My arms were shaking, my mind was racing, my heart was pounding, and I almost snapped my pen in two. Right now it's about 2 in the morning and my body is still at Defcon 1.
No more Red Bull, no coffee, no soda, no caffeine. As Yoda would say, "Bad things, it does." Keeps you awake, sure, but it's hard to be productive when you're vibrating like a helium molecule in heat.

Oops Part II

I just realized I haven't been archiving my old movie reviews. I overwrote most of them and they're lost forever. Humph.
Someday, when I'm not working, perhaps I can go back and recall what I thought about all of them. Pauline Kael claimed she never had to watch a movie a second time--her first impressions were chiseled into her memory. I dare not claim to be a fraction the critic nor to possess a sliver of the memory of a Pauline Kael, but my opinions of movies tend to be fairly constant after setting in.

ESPN Commercials

Some of ESPN's Sportscenter commercials are back online for a while thanks to T-Mobile. They never really get old, do they? I mean seriously, I've tested this. I've watched the same commercial over and over again for about 57 times, and I still laugh my ass off every time. Every time! When Kenny Mayne slides down on the office carpet and strikes a pose at the end of the commercial where he scores a goal on Alexei Lalas in foosball, I start convulsing and snorting things out my nose. It's got to be something hard-wired in the male brain, like a reflex.
"So Karl started drinking a little bit, and then he was going on and on about he and Mrs. Met. Nasty stuff, I tell you. Nasty stuff."


Last week's Doonesbury was all about blogging. I liked this one best.


The new BMW Film Hostage, directed by John Woo, is available for download. Clive Owen returns to play the poker-faced Driver for hire with a heart of gold and a stable of BMWs at his beck and call. As with all Woo movies, you get some closeups of bullets and guns which come through nicely if you download the 104Mb version of the short movie.
My primary complaint: men should not drive roadsters.

The Marshall Doctrine

Baseball Prospectus recently ran a fascinating two part interview (Part 1 Part 2) with pitching coach and former major league pitching star Mike Marshall. He has a website where he lays out some of his unconventional theories. Chapter 28, on pitch selection, is fascinating if you're a baseball fan. An excerpt:
1. Pitchers should throw all pitches for 66.7% strikes.
2. Pitchers should end 75% of at bats within three pitches.
3. Pitchers should end 100% of at bats within five pitches.
4. Pitchers should pitch equally well to both sides of home plates.
5. Pitchers should use the best six pitch sequences with which to achieve the lowest batting averages and on base percentages for the four types of hitters.
"To hitters who hold their bats vertically, pitchers should throw four seam fastballs. To hitters who hold their bats horizontally, pitchers should throw two seam fastballs. To hitters whose rear foot is close to home plate, pitchers should throw them fastballs away. To hitters whose rear foot is away from home plate, pitchers should throw fastballs inside. However, because all hitters want to hit fastballs, pitchers have to convince them that they do not need to throw fastballs."

I'm very curious to see how you throw what Marshall calls a pronation curve. Pronation of the arm during a throwing motion has applications in lots of sports. When a tennis coach finally taught me how to pronate on my serve, I went from having tennis elbow and a terrible serve to being able to hit the occasional ace with either pace or spin, or both.
For folks more interested in hitting (perhaps for your local softball league), Batspeed.com offers some interesting theories on hitting. Their basic premise is that most swing mechanics incorrectly cite linear mechanics when they should be preaching rotational mechanics. I'm going to try and apply some of these ideas next summer in my softball league.