Archive for June, 2007

Baseball, Brazilian Barbecue & Bars = Bachelor Bash

Okay, okay. I’ll admit that it will never live up to the craziest bachelor party of all time, but it wasn’t bad. Dennis did a nice job getting us some fantastic seats, right next to the Yankee bullpen, at AT&T park to catch the Yankees/Giants game on Saturday.


If you notice a huge crew of Taiwanese folks behind us snapping photos with their cameras, it wasn’t because of us, but because Taiwanese Yankee pitcher Chien-Ming Wang was warming up. As you may (or may not) know, Wang has been a huge success for the Yankees, and the first really successful Taiwanese professional American baseball player. Also, San Francisco has a huge Taiwanese community who all wanted to see him play. Apparently, he had more requests for tickets than at any other park, and the local Taiwanese media even gave him flowers. Of course, since we’re right in front of the bullpen, this is what they were taking photos of:


Yeah, so we were pretty close. The Taiwanese fans were screaming at Wang (apparently telling him to speak some Mandarin, but he basically went about his workout). As soon as the game started, all of them disappeared, so apparently they just came down to our section to watch him warmup. The game started off okay. Wang didn’t have great control, but managed to get the Giants (losers of 9 in a row) out pretty easily. The Yankee hitters on the other hand racked up a bunch of hits, but had trouble driving in runs — but did take an early lead. Seemed like we’d cruise through the game.

There was some early excitement. On a terrible call at first we got to see Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy tossed from the game (Dennis did an amazing job catching the ump tossing Bochy). I’ll admit the call was awful, even though it went in the Yankees’ favor.


Dennis wanted two things out of the game: a foul ball he could catch and a “close” game so that we’d get to see a bunch of pitchers warming up in front of us (specifically, we were hoping for Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time…).

On the foul ball front, even though he was ready, no luck for Dennis:


But for keeping the game close, there was plenty of luck. Turns out that Wang had a blister and was bleeding on his finger, so he started giving up hits… then runs… and come the 7th inning, the bullpen got crazy busy and we realized just how close we were. With lefty side-armer Mike Myers throwing beside Brian Bruney (the taunting Giants fans referred to him as “Biff”) it really felt like Myers left arm was going to hit me in the head every time he threw.



Of course, both were called in by Torre (who still seems to have a total blind spot on how to run a bullpen — you’d think someone would sit him down and explain things to him by now) and both screwed up and suddenly the Yankees were losing. A-Rod hit a solo shot to deeeeeep center to tie up the game in the 9th and it was off to extra innings, at which point we got to see the entire Yankee bullpen… including Mariano:


Earlier in the game, Dennis had asked me whether or not Roger Clemens had made the trip (there had been a big stink about how his new contract allows him to skip roadtrips where he’s not starting). I’d seen over at Pete Abraham’s blog that he did, indeed make the trip (after telling reporters “It’s none of your business” when they asked him earlier in the week). So we joked about how awesome it would be to see Clemens warm up. As the game wore on, we kept joking about it, and when The Rocket popped out of the dugout (he’s easily recognizable) we were both amazed. He only threw a few pitches before giving up, but it was still pretty cool.


Anyway, Torre, continuing to manage badly, somehow let Scott Proctor hit in the top of the 13th even though he’d already pitched two innings. He maybe called “Everyday Scotty” by some bloggers, but that doesn’t mean he can (a) pitch more than a couple innings at a time or (b) hit a major league fastball. He struck out pretty quickly and then coughed up the game in the bottom of the inning.

Other than that… it was great. Dennis wrote up his own take on the game. And you can see a lot more of his pictures (they’re all his pictures) over at Flickr.

I had been worried about what we would do between the game and dinner, but with the game going so long, we just had time to go back to Dennis’ place and play some Wii while waiting for the rest of the (mostly) Cornell gang to show up. We also discovered that we were on TV a few times (Dennis TiVo’d the game). Yes, that’s us, barely recognizable next to Miguel Cairo’s thigh.


After that, we headed out for some Brazilian BBQ, which was fun (I think there are some pictures of that as well somewhere) and then hit up a few bars before heading home. All in all, quite the bachelor party.

Thanks to Dennis for organizing, and to MikeHo, Andy, Paul, Dan, Kai, Hersh and Teck for coming out.

Someone Trying To Send Us A Message?

Last week, in talking about pre-wedding stress, a friend of mine said that couples come out of it stronger, noting something along the lines of “the best bonds are formed in the hottest fires.” I didn’t know he meant it so literally.


It can’t be a good thing when the site of your upcoming (less than 2 weeks) wedding is engulfed in flames and making headlines half way around the world. Google News currently shows 1,402 results for “tahoe fire.” Yay.


“It’s like a 100-ft wall of flame that’s marching through the forest,” Leona Allen of South Lake Tahoe’s fire and police departments’ dispatch centre told the Los Angeles Times.

“It’s thick with smoke. You can’t see your hand. You can’t see anything across the street.”

Lt Kevin House, of the El Dorado County Sherriff’s Department, said it was “far and above the biggest disaster that has happened in this community”.

Well, assuming we make it, I imagine everything will smell like a great big BBQ cookout.

More seriously, we hope that everyone up there is doing okay. So far, there are (amazingly!) no reported casualties, despite approximately 200 houses being burnt down. Hopefully this thing gets under control quickly and the damage is limited.

Recovering From Mesh

When I was a kid, I went to Canada a few times with summer camp (it was a “travel camp”) and I always enjoyed it. I remember a time, in Toronto, just as we were all supposed to be heading back to the buses when a group of three or four of us were killing time outside some sort of theater that had some guy standing out front trying to convince passing tourists to buy tickets. Like a bunch of punk kids, we wasted his time for a bit before one of us asked, “Hey, if we buy one ticket, and all of us sit on top of each other, is that okay?” The guy paused for a second and said, “You must be from New York,” before turning and walking away.

I haven’t been to Toronto since then (even if I apparently have semi-famous cousins with theaters named after them who live there) but as if to mentally punish me with guilt for being a part of the taunting crew (and don’t ask me about when we taunted the Expos mascot Youppi to the point that he punched a little kid…) I’ve discovered that Canadians have been universally, fantastically, stunningly, incredibly nice consistently throughout my life. Having not been north of the border in about 20 years, it’s nice to find out that those in Canada are just as amazingly friendly as those I’ve been dealing with south of the border.

I spent all last week at the Mesh Conference in Toronto and it was fantastic. I’ll admit that the thought had crossed my mind to bail out and attend the All Things D conference once I found out they overlapped, but, I’d already agreed to go to Mesh, and it seemed like an opportunity to meet different people with different perspectives rather than the same old crowd. Indeed, that’s pretty much what happened. Perhaps it was because I knew so few people there, but I found that I ended up having an awful lot of really fantastic conversations and meeting many more people I hope to stay in touch with than at other conferences.

Getting a chance to finally meet Rob Hyndman and Mathew Ingram (two organizers of the event) in person was simply great — though, I don’t recall saying anything deserving of the amazingly kind words that each said about meeting me. I’d already met Mike McDerment, and didn’t have much of a chance to speak with Stuart or Mark (the other organizers). However, there were a ton of fascinating individuals and entrepreneurs who I got to spend time with. I certainly can’t go through the whole list of name, but it was great to finally meet folks like Cynthia Brumfield and Tony Hung. And, Rob’s introduction to Pema Hegan, founder of Gigpark, not only resulted in a great conversation on its own, but then to attending a regretfully fast (second fastest game in the majors this year) Blue Jays/White Sox game with his co-founder, Noah Godfrey (which, in turn, resulted in another fantastic conversation with Noah). And, while at the game, I got to talking with Patrick Lor, which turned into hanging out at the hotel bar with Patrick and Austin Hill. And, by “hanging out,” I mean an incredibly enlightening wonking out on the finer points of economic theory (including plenty to think about for followups on my series of ramblings).

That was only a taste. All in all, a totally worthwhile event. My only regret was not having a chance to chat with (or even meet) Ethan Kaplan, who about six or seven people told me I absolutely needed to talk with. Conveniently, his assigned seat at the “speakers and sponsors” dinner was right next to mine, but it turned out that the part of Ethan Kaplan was played by someone else that night (though, my dinner conversations with a bunch of folks were also fantastic). Tony Hung fears that his brain would explode if Ethan and I ever “faced off,” so at least we spared Toronto the trouble of having to deal with that… but hopefully, I’ll get a chance to catch up with Ethan some other time.