Thursday, January 31, 2008

Meanwhile, in the world of baseball...

Since I only ever check in on baseball news every couple days, I didn't even know that Tuesday was a thrilling day to be a Mets fan. But I am excited now, anyway.

When I was first reading about who all the fans wanted to pick up for 2008, Santana really seemed like pie in the sky. Like, yes, I agreed that he would be just what the Mets needed for a contending pitching staff, but giving the Mets a contending pitching staff was not on the Twins', or any of the competing bidders', list of priorities. I dismissed it as wishful thinking and that the shot we got in 2007 was not to be repeated in the near future.

But what I don't know about the baseball business could fill a book (or at least an infrequently-updated blog), and I'm happy to be proven wrong. 2008 should be a fun year.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Civics Noob

If Joe Lieberman attends the GOP convention, then will he still be available to keynote at the Connecticut For Lieberman convention? They are running a candidate this year, right?

Warshington Noob

I came across a blog post that mentions Aplets & Cotlets. Horrible name, I know. "Cotlets." Jesus. But the blogger claims that, "growing up in Washington State, [she] always got [Aplets & Cotlets] as Christmas presents" and she hated them.

I have never heard of such a thing. The only holiday candies I associate with the Evergreen State (that's us, right?) are Almond Roca and the chocolates you get at Nordstroms's. Or possibly the Bon Marche. But they are basically less flavorful versions of fudge. I think she's from Eastern Washington, though, so maybe they do things DIFFERENT out there.

"Aplets." Christ almighty.

It looks like Turkish delight, which I don't find terrible. I do remember that it was immensely disappointing after only knowing about it from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Definitely not worth selling one's soul for or whatever.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Home Economics Noob

I brew my tea by the cup, boiling the water in a small electric kettle. I have always overfilled it slightly, so as to avoid any risk of not being able to fill my cup adequately. Last week I switched it up, so that now I may come up short once in a while, but I'll only rarely end up with too much.

I'm not really concerned with wasted water so much, but I'm worried the energy used to heat up the water might add up over time.

I figure I probably have an average of two cups a day when weekends and days I'm not working at home are factored in. So call it 700 cups a year. If I was overshooting by 20%, or two ounces, then that's 1400oz of water each year that I've been heating to boiling from room temperature.

A BTU is the energy it takes to heat a pound of water a single degree Fahrenheit. Each year I've been heating 87.5 pounds of water a whole 140 or so degrees, for a total of 12,250 unnecessary BTU each year, or about 13 million Joules.

My kettle is rated at 1000 watts, and since it is probably close to perfectly efficient (it's small and plastic, and the heating element is fully immersed), that means I'm wasting, uh...13,000...seconds. Each year.

That's three and a half hours! At minimum wage it would buy a nice lunch for two! I'm glad I've change my ways.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Comics Nooby

I took a sketch pad and my new brush pen home with me over the holidays, hoping to get in some good practice time. I wanted to both practice laying out full comic pages as in my baseball drawing, and to get a little more comfortable with the brush pen.

The second day I was home, I drew a couple panels portraying part of the previous day, when my mom took Nate and I on a walk down to the creek to see where the salmon were all dying after spawning:
Dead Salmon
It was a nice little vignette, I thought, so I decided that each day I would do a full page depicting something I'd done the previous day. I was laying out the panels, drawing in blue pencil, and then inking only with the brush pen.

Unfortunately, because of how vacations tend to go, most of the rest of my days were not nearly so exciting, and rather than drawing little episodes, I tended to just summarize each day with a bunch of confusingly juxtaposed panels. So the result is neither coherent nor really very interesting.

Also, the first page gave me practice drawing from different sources: the establishing landscape panel I drew from real life, then the second panel was from memory, and I used a reference photo for the third. Later pages tended to be almost all from memory. Here they are:
Crabs, Scrabble, and euchre
Puppy store
Jaime's apartment
Christmas Eve
Sleeping all day
Don and Jaime leave
Laundry, errands, dinner
Thai food and Gallagher
Replacing ink
I also noticed that while I didn't have any trouble coming up with different facial features for made up characters in Night-Wight, I have no clue how to look at an actual person's face and distill their features into a drawing. So everyone looks exactly the same in these drawings, and going back I probably couldn't even tell you who is supposed to be who.

Was this exercise a success? I don't know. I didn't even really do any shading after the first three, so I don't know that I actually got any better with the brush pen. But I did come up with a good variety of panel layouts that I think mostly worked pretty well, and I know that I need to work on looking at faces and figuring out how to portray them (or rather, how to model them in my mind so that I render them as accurate portrayals). It was fun, too, so I'm glad I decided to do it.

Noob of All Trades

I have non-baseball stuff I want to post. While there's no technical barrier to creating a "*n00b" blog for each of my new enthusiasms as they come up, I don't want to mess with my technorate scores and affect my ad rates.

So I've decided instead to embroaden the scope of this here blog to include any topic on which I am a clueless nooby. Which for the time being is probably going to be stuff related to Scrabble or comics or bikes or whatnot, and who knows what all else in the future!

For example, here's some crap I made for playing Scrabble, both PDF files: a score sheet, and a 2- and 3-letter word cheat sheet (from the SOWPODS word list). There are two per page, and they line up if you want to do a score sheet on one side and the cheat sheet on the other.

The score sheet is designed for two player games where each player records their rack for each move, folding the edge of the paper over to obscure the rack columns. That way you have a full record of a game played in real life, and can record it later in something like Quackle and have it tell you all the 100+ point bingos your stupid ass missed. It's great!