Friday, June 27, 2008


Chris is right. These may be the two most spectacularly awesome comic book panels in history. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


So... very... tired. Work is simply overwhelming right now - I have a ton of stuff to finish before I begin my postdoctoral fellowship, and once that's done I have a postdoctoral fellowship grant to write. Bleah.

But the good news is that I finally got my comics I ordered. Apparently they got the address wrong the first time and they were shipped back, but as soon as I have time to scan them in I can write a few comic posts. I have to say that "Secret Wars," for a cheap marketing gimmick created to tie in with a failed toy line, was just as much fun to read as I remembered. The entire story has its ups and downs, but the last three issues featured Dr. Doom at his very evil best which makes up for a lot of the fluff in between.

Anyhoo, as soon as I emerge from the lab, I'll have a few things up. In the meantime, I highly recommend "Get Smart" - was much, much more fun than I expected it to be and the entire cast looked like they had a blast making it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Octagon Global Recruiting

Hey, I just got an e-mail from the DHARMA Initiative! Check it out:
Octagon Global Recruiting

Octagon Global Recruiting, on behalf of the Dharma Initiative, would like to thank you for registering your expression of interest in our latest volunteer recruitment drive.

We will be launching in San Diego on July 24th at Comic-Con International offering select registrants the opportunity to take an exciting aptitude test that will give applicants the chance to demonstrate their unique talents.

The Dharma Initiative hopes you will be able to join us to find out more about their ground-breaking new research project. We will contact you closer to the date with more information.

For those not able to join us in San Diego, Dharma's full recruitment program will be made available online to registered recruits after July 27th.

In the meantime, the Dharma Initiative urges you to spread the word. Invite your colleagues to join the team at and take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity.
This message and its attachments are confidential and may contain information which is protected by copyright. It is intended solely for the named addressee. If you are not the authorised recipient (or responsible for delivery of the message to the authorised recipient), you must not use, disclose, print, copy or deliver this message or its attachments to anyone. If you receive this email in error, please contact the sender immediately and permanently delete this message and its attachments from your system. Any content of this message and its attachments that does not relate to the official business of the Dharma Initiative or its subsidiaries must be taken not to have been sent or endorsed by any of them. No representation is made that this email or its attachments are without defect or that the contents express views other than those of the sender.
While I certainly won't be there, I'm looking forward to hearing what all this is about. Anyone going? :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Busy week again. Finished "The Time Traveler's Wife" and I'll have an extended review up eventually, but suffice it to say it was one of the most wonderful books I've ever read.

Turns out they're making it into a movie, coming out this Christmas, with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams - to me, two very odd casting choices for Henry and Clare, who have become two of my favorite characters of all time. I do hope they're able to do the book justice.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Brown Paper Packages...

With the hiatus upon us, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things on teh internets and I invite y'all to do the same. I figure it might give all some entertaining things to do since there's not going to be much LOST to write about in the next several months. These are five of my local pit stops on the internet. I have a lot of pit stops, so I tried to pick (non-Lost related) things all on different topics that might interest people - and I also tried to pick stuff that people might not know about.

1. Five Thirty Eight - If you're a politics and/or statistics junkie, this site is like caffeine-laced crack dissolved in Mountain Dew. While electoral prediction sites are abundant on the net, I was thrilled to discover that this one is run by Nate Silver, one of the grand gentlemen who runs my very favorite baseball site on the internet, Baseball Prospectus.

BP uses an incredible statistical model called PECOTA, created by Nate, to predict how a player will perform in a given season based on various parameters (age, past performance, injury history, plate discipline, etc...). Five Thirty Eight applies a similar method to the electoral college, predicting how well Obama and McCain will do in various states using a statistical model based on polls and various demographics. The model held up incredibly well throughout the primary season and now Nate will be gearing up the site for the general election. Can't recommend it enough if you follow politics.

Oh, and how hot is Nate right now? His site just got a write up in Newsweek.

2. Fark, Top Links - I've been a member of Fark for nearly five years now and a member of TotalFark for almost as long (and a Top 100 submitter there, thank you very much). While I don't spend as much time there as I used to (although TotalFark is still the best $5/month you'll ever spend and the TF Secret Santa is one of my favorite little joys of the season), I usually make it a daily stop to check out the Top Links page.

These are the best headlines/articles voted by the TF community. A link can make it either on headline or content alone. At the end of the year, the best annual headlines are voted on to choose both an overall winner and individual winners in several categories (Best Sports Headline, Best Punning Headline, etc...). TotalFarkers can read all the voted headlines (there's a longer list that appears if you're a member) and all the comment thread (Farkers can only read greenlit threads), but anyone can click on the actual associated stories on the left hand side.

Since these are the top voted stories, it's an easy way (kind of one-stop shopping) of browsing popular/entertaining stuff circulating around the web.

3. The Hot Sauce Blog - I'm a serious hot sauce junkie. I use it in place of ketchup (which I oddly can't stand) and my tolerance at this point is pretty much through the roof. One of my former roommates used to frequently wonder how in the world I could even taste anything since my taste buds should have been burned off long ago.

The Hot Sauce Blog takes their hot sauces seriously. They review anything and everything and I've gotten quite a few suggestions on different things to try from them. All their reviews are neatly organized in the sidebar - if you're looking for something new, just click and browse. Bar none, it's the best hot sauce resource on the internet.

4. Baseball Think Factory - This is my one-stop shopping for baseball headlines. The BTF is filled with incredibly intelligent fans (much moreso than i), journalists and columnists (including the fabulous Tim Marchman of the New York Sun and Howard Megdal of the New York Observer) all discussing the pertinent baseball stories of the day. The news headlines on the front page are generally some of the best baseball writing and news on the web. Big stories make it there, but also lesser known stories of interest, generally with a statistical bent.

5. Penny and Aggie - I love webcomics. Lots of webcomics.

Some of my favorites, in no particular order are:

Least I Can Do - Guy humor. Really, really, really funny guy humor.
Questionable Content - Drama and music. With robots.
Scary Go Round - The most bizarrely creative comic on the internet. Pure joy.
Zebra Girl - Beautiful art. Fun story. I wish Joe would update it regularly. *sigh*
Grim Tales/PPGD - Bleedman's art rocks and I love what he's done with familiar characters

But Penny and Aggie has the best current storyline right now and it's probably not as well known as some of the comics above. I wrote a previous review of P&A on StumbleUpon a while ago and said:
Think "Archie," but meaner and nastier - like real high school. Penny's the Veronica Lodge of the comic - rich, beautiful, even smart (although she hides it). She's also an alpha female - vindictive and cunning. Throw in a pinch of non-trashy Paris Hilton (if you can imagine that) and that's Penny.

Her nemesis is the strip's Betty Drake, Aggie - pretty, intelligent, and ambitious. The product of two hippies, she's an uber-liberal too; a political, vegetarian, peace-loving environmentalist who always speaks her mind. She hates everything Penny stands for: The popular Barbie Girl who's more style than substance. Aggie constantly taunts her, which causes Penny to retaliate, which prompts more taunts, lather, rinse, repeat, etc...

Ironically though, if the two of them actually sat down and talked, they'd find they're not as different as they'd like to believe.
I was blissfully ignorant in high school, so I was never really involved in any of the class warfare going on. Just kinda got along with everyone - played poker with the jocks, played video games with my friends - and I really didn't care about being popular, which seems to me to have been the key. But I imagine a lot of you can relate to the strip and the social dynamics of the age.

Right now, the comic's in the midst of it's most ambitious storyline yet, and I find myself looking forward to new strips more than any other I read. I can't recommend it enough. Check out all the archives online to get the full backstory. Fabulous art too.

So that's my five. Anyone have anything sites they want to share? Blog it, post in the comments and I'll provide a link. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mets Rant

I don't want to get off on a rant here, but I'm having a crappy enough week as it is without my favorite baseball team piling on with their supremely sucky play. Bugs and Cranks today lists six things they'd do to fix the Mets. I started to write a comment there, but it ended up turning into a longish rant, so I figured I'd just post it here instead. Their six:

1. Trade Carlos Delgado, Aaron Heilman and ___ to Cincinnati for Adam Dunn
2. Demote Mike Pelfrey
3. Trade Carlos Beltran
4. Find another home for Moises Alou
5. Two catchers at a time, please
6. Promote from within

While I agree wholeheartedly with #4, #5, and #6, #3 is just silly, we have no real replacement for #2 and #1 doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of happening. I'd love Dunn on the team, but unless the Mets were willing to give up F-Mart (and they aren't), they ain't getting him. Pelfrey is starting to look like a bust to me, since he still can't throw a breaking pitch for a strike, but he's young, cheap and doesn't come with a giant, expensive boot on his foot *seething anger at Omar*. And trading Beltran doesn't make any sense - he's third on the team in VORP this year at 14.5, low for him but still good, and he's under our control for the next three seasons.

The Mets do, however, need to purge all the old bench scrubs on their team. Since they currently sport one of the worst benches in baseball, why not bring up a bunch of young guys and give them a chance? It'll certainly be more entertaining to watch them fail than Fernando Tatis and Raul Casanova. Who knows, it might give the team some badly needed energy. Did anyone have any faith in Marlon Anderson when he came up last night in the ninth? I certainly didn't - he's been injured and awful this year. Seems the shine's off Endy too, dead last on the team with a -7.3 VORP (although he at least can still play defense).

They also need to start shopping people. Alou, Heilman and Schoeneweis all have less-than-negative value right now. Oliver Perez could interest a contending team. Luis Castillo has actually been reasonably productive and maybe could get a, team to take on that horrible contract of his. Delgado should just be cut outright and Mike Carp should be brought up. Even if he fails, it's still better than watching Carlos' corpse flail at another double down the line.

If I were Wilpons, I'd get rid of Omar too. I'm not a huge Willie fan, but I'm convinced Omar is more of the problem than Randolph. Omar simply places too much value on players he's familiar with and is obsessed with going with experienced veterans instead of youngsters. Yes, yes, he can sign the big-name free agent and maybe without him we wouldn't have Beltran or Santana. The trade for John Maine was also a steal. But think about this bench he's assembled. Think about the contract he handed to Castillo this offseason, El Duque last season. Think about Heath Bell, Brian Bannister, Ruben Gotay. Think about his fascinations with Brian Lawrence, Chan Ho Park, and... *shudder*... Jose Lima. I really think the main reason this team is struggling is because of how it's been assembled, not how it's being managed.

But the biggest problem here is that the Mets are trapped. Aside from Carp (who probably isn't ready yet, but couldn't be much worse than what they've got), they really have no one in the minors they can turn to for reinforcements. And it's too early in the season to start selling off players (although you can start gauging interest now). But the team needs a shakeup in the worst way, so here's what I'd do:

1. Release Delgado, call up Mike Carp from AA
2. Release Tatis, demote Casanova. Call up Chris Aguila (LF, .968 OPS) and the awesomely named Valentino Pascucci (RF, 1.008) from AAA
3. Start shopping

And, if this team doesn't improve by the break, Jeff and Fred need to find another general manager to run the mid-summer fire sale in Queens.

ADDENDUM: Ask and you shall receive. The Mets call up Aguila, DFAing Abraham Nunez. Hey, it's a start.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Work's really busy right now. Should calm down by the end of the week. Here's an amusing Lost link that I don't have the time right now to expound upon. Here's another.

Just started "The Time Traveler's Wife." Only about 30 pages in, but I love, love, love it so far. :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Summer Wind...

... came blowin' in... with a new Lost Experience webgame. :)

Looks like it anyway. I mentioned that ABC ad that aired during the finale in my review from Octagon Global Recruiting, which asks you to enter an e-mail for a recruiting drive in San Diego, July 24th-27th.

Turns out, those dates happen to coincide with this year's San Diego Comic-Con. Can you say webgame, boys and girls? I probably won't have time to play given I'll have just started my postdoc, but I'll certainly keep tabs on how it's going. Any of you going to play?