Friday, December 17, 2004
And we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
This morning I woke up early to watch Cold Pizza, because I had to get up and study anyways, and I had heard that Bronson Arroyo was going to be on. He was. He played guitar and sang, it was ace. I have been relatively resistant to the entire Bronson Arroyo Hotness Appreciation Club (I mean, come on people, this is a team with Bill Mueller on it), but I have to admit that he looked awfully good here. At least, until one of the host ladies talked him into taking off his ski hat. He was extremely reluctant, saying that he had taken out the cornrows and ever since he "had a bad hair day." It was pretty messy, so I guess we'll have to wait and see what he does with it for the start of the season.
I also noticed that, during his interview, there was a foam Wolverine hat in the background, sitting on the set. Either one of the hosts or someone in the crew clearly went to Michigan. Props to whoever was responsible.
It has been insane around here lately, what with final tests, final projects, final presentations, anticipation for the upcoming Orgy of Bowls, and the Painfully Hot Stove. I know I've missed writing about a lot of it, due to the 8 Days, but I shall now attempt to catch up.
We had our art lecture final presentation, which involved everyone setting up their projects in the main hallway and walking up and down, quietly examining everyone else's work and holding intelligent conversations on the subjects addressed therein, while the GSIs worked their way down the room in a timely fashion, taking notes and grading everyone's projects.
If you believe that, I've got a slightly-used bridge to sell you.
Come on, did anyone really think that this was a good idea? Gee, let's have around 200 ART STUDENTS cramming their finals into ONE HALLWAY, what a SPLENDID IDEA. People saw their own projects, and the projects of their own particular friends, and then decided that there was nothing else that needed doing. There were groups of people lounging on the couches, there were groups of people chatting animatedly (and most assuredly not about art) in happily social clumps all over the hall, there were huge portions of the class just plain old not doing anything related to either art or the lectures.
There were 3 or 4 extremely harassed GSIs discovering that they could only get through about 5 projects each in an hour. The main professor wandered up and down, completely oblivious to the chaos swirling around him, smiling in his usual dreamily mussed manner, convinced through some inexplicable filter in his brain that everything was going swimmingly.
My own group (there were 8 groups that we had met in for discussions during the semester) were all sitting in a far corner of the hall, bored out of our collective mind. I had brought in an enormous roll of masking tape to hang up posters and whatnot. This was appropriated by the group, and after Alex ran around our little seating area with it a few times so that we were all in a masking tape cage, he wadded it all up and made a tape ball. This was our entertainment. The tape ball was thrown at innocent passerby, used in impromptu soccer games, and generally worshipped as a savior of fun.
The whole event was a mess. But hey, we got our grades back already and I got a 98 on the thing, so who am I to complain?
We had to burn DVDs for our final digital portfolios. Lord only knows why we couldn't just burn the files to a regular (and, I might add, much cheaper) CD-R, but no. They wanted a fancy DVD production. The portfolio included all of our objects, rendered up nice and fancy. This meant the little, simpler objects and the final, insane ones. I did a tiger in a jungle. What you're seeing there is actually about 50 times smaller than the actual file, because there was no way I was uploading that behemoth to my webspace. It took about 9 hours to render on my computer, and I'm actually afraid to open the original Maya file now, because the thing is so massive that the mere act of opening it causes my entire computer to move slower than Kevin Millar in the outfield.
We also had to make a real 3D model, using the University's snazzy 3D printer. It's a process I am entirely enamoured with. You model your object in Maya (or some other 3D modelling program). You then feed the file into this printer and it prints your object, just like you feed a file into a regular printer and it prints your paper or poster or whatever. It does this by breaking down the object into a gazillion cross-sections and building it up out of superthin layers of starch. It all comes out in one piece, which you can then paint up all fanciful if you so desire.
I used my tiger model for this one too.
Oh, and I made a movie trailer centered around this thing, because we had to have an animation. I thought it was ridiculous, but my teacher seemed to really like it. Hopefully he will grade accordingly.
I'd post the animation, but the file's frikking huge and I am too lazy to compress it. So you get a still frame.
Biology is completely kicking my ass. Completely. I have no idea what my grade in that class is going to be, but let's put it this way: I really, really just hope at this point that I pass and end up with the credit. It's not that I'm not learning things in there, because I am. The problem is that I'm learning so much at once that I'm getting overwhelmed and bombing the tests. I like the subject, I'm having a good time in the labs and learning all this stuff that I'm actually interested in, but I just can't for the life of me handle the testing. Sigh.
I'm not even sure I can adequently rehash the Hot Stove right now, since it was Pleasantly Cool for so long, and all of a sudden exploded in a fireball of enormous meat-charring power (not entirely unlike what happens when my dad tries to barbeque). Let's see what we have so far in the way of big moves.
Carl Pavano to the Yankees. This was finalized today. I don't know, I really thought we had a chance here. We had the advantage of a glamorous winning team, the Curt Schilling mentor appeal, the insanely dedicated fanbase. I know Detroit was pushing hard to get him too, trotting out what meager resources they could (i.e. they had him spend a day with Al Kaline). And he went to the Yankees, because he liked Joe Torre? I just don't know. I hope he ends up being horribly overrated and having a very mediocre season.
David Wells to the Red Sox. Uh... what? You read correctly, mes amis. The overweight, overage pitcher has joined the Idiots, bringing with him 42 years, a Yankee past, a history of anti-Fenway quotes (he wanted to be there to push the button if they ever decided to demolish the park), and a liver more toxin-riddled than a formalin-preserved shark specimen. Make sense? If you throw in his left arm, 12-8 record last year, and his 3.73 ERA, it starts to. I'm not entirely convinced, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and wait until the season starts.
Troy Percival to the Tigers. A power closer on the Tigs, excellent! Now if only they could get some starting pitching... In any event, this is exciting because Percival is so excited about the Detroit club. Between him and Pudge, is it possible for the Tigers to convince other free agents that Detroit is a desireable place to be? We shall see.
Brad Radke resigned with the Twins. This is one of those things that make you jealous he's not on your team. In today's insane offseason market he could have commanded an imposing amount of money and years, but he really wanted to stay in Minnesota, so he resigned with them for what will ultimately be much less than he could have gotten on the open market. Of course, he's not exactly getting shafted with a 2 year, $18 million deal, but he still could have gotten more.
Tony Womack and Jaret Wright to the Yankees. Womack had a good year last year, but that was in the National League, and he had had a slump year before that, so hopefully he's due for a 2003 repeat. Wright has a history of shoulder problems and failed his initial physical with the Yanks, forcing him to take a second one (which he apparently passed). You never know, this could blow up midseason and cause all kinds on trouble in New York.
Adrian Beltre to the Mariners. Weird. Are the Mariner's going to be contenders next year? I know this is another player the Tigs were going hard after and didn't end up getting, making their postseaon look woefully anemic at this point. Anyways, Beltre got a sick 5 year, $64 mil contract, which is just going to set the market for Carlos Beltran even higher. As though Boras needed any encouragement on that point.
Edgar Renteria to the Red Sox. Edgah! If he performs like he has in the past, this could be great for the Sox. What I don't understand, though, is why we signed him to a 4 year deal. I (and everyone else in RSN) was under the impression that we had this incredible shortstop by the name of Hanley Ramirez coming up through our minors, and we wanted to sign a SS short-term this offseason, so that when the time came we could slide Hanley into the big leagues. This was why we didn't want to resign Cabby, because he was bound to ask for more than 1 or 2 years. So we turn around and sign Renteria, which I guess is OK, but for 4 years? What the dickens, people? If we're going to be trading Hanley anyways why didn't we just resign Cabby, which probably would have been both easier and cheaper?
Tim Hudson to the Braves. Well, someone finally managed to pry one of the Big 3 out of Oakland. Pity it wasn't us. He's relatively young, he's good, and he could only be acquired by a trade since he wasn't a free agent. Apparently we didn't have anything the A's were interested in. They got Dan Meyer, a lefty pitcher who's supposed to be a ridiculously good prospect, and two other guys named Charles Thomas and Juan Cruz. I suppose I always imagined it would take rather more than this to get Hudson out, but evidently not. The good news is that he's in the NL now, so we won't have to face him much.
Pedro Martinez to the Mets. It seems like everyone with access to a newspaper, computer, or TV camera has already weighed in on this one. Wild speculation is flying about the durability of Pedro's shoulder, and people who wouldn't know the difference between a scapula and a fibula if you whacked them over the head with the things are now speaking glibly about torn labrums and how they affect a pitcher. Curt Schilling is accusing Pedro of having his own rules, the Red Sox are saying that Pedro was unreasonable by not accepting their offer, Pedro is calling the Red Sox a bunch of disrespectful control-freaks, Derek Lowe is ducking in and saying the same, conspiracy theories are cropping up on SoSH, and the Mets are just pissed that on the one day they should finally make a big splash in the media, the Yankees come out and one-up them. More on that in a second, though.
The Pedro situation, so far as I am concerned, is very simple. He was great for us. Great. It would have been really, really nice to have him finish out his career and retire with us. I am upset that he is gone, because he was a stellar pitcher when he was on form and a damn good one even when he wasn't. He was fun to watch in the clubhouse, even if his antics sometimes made us wince (coming to the ballpark late always makes me nervous) or just shake our heads (one word: midget). I will miss him.
I did not, however, want us to sign him for 4 guaranteed years. I don't think he would last four years. In the NL, there's a bare possibility that he will, although I still think it more likely that after a couple of seasons his shoulder will blow out. In the AL I think there's no chance he would have made it through 3. So I'm upset that Pedro's gone, I wish him well in New York, but I'm glad we didn't sign him to that kind of contract.
And hey, bear in mind folks, it could always be worse. He could be a Yankee. Let us count our blessings, eh?
Randy Johnson to the Yankees. This isn't a done deal yet, but it's close. If it does go through, it would be a three-way trade involving the MFY, the Dbacks, and the Dodgers. The MFY would get Johnson, the Dbacks would get Brad Penny, Yhency Brazoban, and Shawn Green, the Dodgers would get the thin end of the stick. Well, technically they'd get Javier Vasquez and a couple of prospects, but they will have lost Green and Beltre in short order, leaving their lineup rather weak. I'm not sure why they would agree to this deal, and there's the additional stumbling block of Shawn Green, who has a no-trade clause and might not be so keen to waive it since he likes living and playing in LA.
If it gets done, though, we have to face the prospect of Randy Johnson in ridiculously long pinstripes. He could be as freakishly good as he traditionally has been, but there are a few things that could happen and work in our favor. He is getting up there in age, and has had some medical issues in the past, so there's always the chance that these crop up with reinforcements. Before Schilling went to Arizona he apparently had trouble dealing with high-pressure situations, which might make him uniquely suited for a breakdown in the maelstorm of the New York media. And hey, you never know, he could lose some ridiculously easy game to the Tigers or something and pull a Kevin Brown (i.e. put his hand through a wall). A gal can dream, right?
That's about it, except for the breaking news that the Red Sox appear to have reached a deal with Matt Clement. This is good. With Pedro gone, Lowe going, and Schilling's ankle on the slow road to full health, our starting rotation was starting to look scarily tenuous. Clement's no '99 Pedro, but hopefully he'll bolster things enough to hold the fort until Schilling is better and we can start looking at other guys to sign as they become available later in the season.
Blimey, I need sleep. An exciting weekend of studying, football, more studying, and more football awaits. Huzzah.