adrian is rad


two pirates fans chronicle the 2012 season

Filed under: — adrian @ 4:19 am

For the entirety of the 2012 season my friend Colin and I exchanged emails in one long thread about the Pirates. From the slow start to the incredible standing in August (16 games above 0.500 on August 6, their best standing since 1992) and their chance to break a now-20 year streak of losing season, the worst in major US sports in history, to their epic (and historic) collapse we followed the team. From the hope to despair, the stats to the intangibles, the interesting to the mundane, it’s all here.

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Fri,  Apr 6, 2012 at 9:37am


How was [the home opener, which Colin attended]? I listened to a chunk of it online at work. Seems like

Halliday had a ridiculous game.


Also, this made me happy. Go bucs.





From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM


It was good.  It’s true that Halladay had a good game but the numbers don’t tell the whole story.  I was sitting next to Phillies fans and they were complaining about his velocity.  Apparently, he only hit 90mph twice or something.  Also, the Pirates put the bat on the ball a lot, they just happened to hit to where fielders could get it. Sabermetricians will tell you, that’s not within the pitcher’s control.  So, I think Halladay was operating on the lucky side of the hits per balls in play spectrum.  Or, at the very least, he’s pitching in front of a bunch of good defenders.  If you put him on another team with worse defense, the Pirates would have got a number of doubles.


Also, the only run the Phillies got was very nearly an out at the plate.  If the throw had been a little lower or a little earlier, the guy would have been out.


All in all, it was a fun game even though the Pirates lost.  They played well, so it was encouraging – especially since they were up against Halladay and Papelbon.


I’ll be interested to see the 2012 version of that study.  The beer prices at the game yesterday were all like $7+.  I think they’ve raised prices on a lot of things since last season.  They’re still probably on the cheap end of things, but they’re definitely more expensive than last year.





pirates cap

Filed under: — adrian @ 5:37 am

Adrian Posing With Dad's Club
A photo from a couple years ago, but one of the Pirates caps I’ve worn this year. By Ashley Bischoff

Before the season started I said I’d wear a Pirates cap every day the Pirates were at or above 0.500, so today is the first day since May 30 that I haven’t worn one. (In fact, I wore one a number of days before May 30 as well.)

Their current collapse makes me pretty sad. I still have hope that they’ll end up above 0.500, and there are a number of things that are going right this season, but the weight of 20 (potential) straight losing season is, well, overbearing.


it’s pittsburgh, with an ‘h’

Filed under: — adrian @ 8:42 am

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Pittsburgh’s original spelling (with the h) after a contentious 20 year period without it.


raise the jolly roger

Filed under: — adrian @ 6:51 pm

The Pirates are 47-43 (0.522) at the All Star Break, their best start since 1992, their last winning season.

They also have three All Stars (Hanrahan, McCutchen, Correia), the most since 1990 (Bonds*, Bonilla, Heaton). AND they’re one game out of the lead in their division.

As an irrational sports fan I say this just about every year, but I’m pretty excited about this year and I think it could be different. (The big difference is that I’m saying it relatively late into the season this year.) There’s a lot of games to be played, though, so we’ll see. I can guarantee that I’ll be following along.



Dats all dat stuff dats goahin round in dem EEmails were instead of callin Picksburgh Picksburgh, they’ll write it aht Picksburgh

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:13 am

Colin introduced me to this hilarious series Greg and Donny over the weekend. It’s about two guys in Johnstown who live down the street from each other but have taken to video conferencing. It’s really funny. Above is my favorite of them.

Also check out “Videoconferencin'”, “Gina Gets a Snuggie” and “Hummus”. Good good stuff.


the great escape

Filed under: — adrian @ 3:09 pm

Something reminded me of this story today.

I’m in 7th grade and I have to do an oral book report. I read a biography on Houdini and prepare a short speech about the book. I do my little speech.

But here’s the part that I like. I get out chains and locks and rope and I ask this kid in my class, Ross, who was just a kid, not a plant of any sort, to lock and bind me to this chair, which is one of those chairs with a built in half-desk. I want him to bind me up and then push the chair out into the hall so I make a miraculous escape. He asks me if I have the key to the lock and I say no, but to use it anyway; I’d hidden a bobby pin in the elastic band of my underwear. Ross starts with the chain and the rope. The tension builds.

And then the teacher says the class is over. I never got to do my escape.

I have no idea what my grade on the report was.


super ball

Filed under: — adrian @ 8:14 am

Yes, I’m very excited for tomorrow and the Super Bowl. I think my team can take it. Go Steel City, City of Champions!

keisel's beard

I’m also pretty excited about Brett Keisel’s beard. Too bad it’s coming off next week either way.


time slows, time hastens

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:39 am

Time has been doing weird things lately. Sometimes it slows down and most improbably many things all fit into a short amount of time. It also speeds up and goes by far faster than any atomic clock should allow. I have about a week and a half left in Ingwavuma and a little more than three weeks left in South Africa. That seems like a ridiculously short amount of time.

I saw a guy wearing a Steelers shirt on Friday as I drove through Jozini a pretty small town that one hits on the way to Ingwavuma. I almost drove off the road. This was undoubtedly one of those thrift-store-thinks-it-can’t-sell-it-so-it-sends-it-to-Africa things, so it wasn’t like I’d encountered a fan, but it was still stunning. This would be liking seeing someone wearing an Ajax CT or AmaZulu* shirt in Monte Vista, Colorado.

kosi bay lagoon
kosi bay

I’ve been having all sorts of adventures lately. After tutoring Monday-Thursday this week, the school asked if I couldn’t drive to Cape Vidal, in St. Lucia, for their school field trip on Friday, as they were a few spots short transportation-wise. It was about a three hour drive each way but it was a gorgeous beach.

I had already been planing to go to Kosi Bay yesterday, so it looked like two beach days in a row. You go almost to the Mozambique border (<500m—you can see the fence) before turning down a dirt track. Eventually it turns to sand and it's 4x4s-only from there. It's about 5km to the beach. Luckily a family that I know were there for the weekend and I caught a ride down with them to the actual river mouth. It's absolutely gorgeous. There's a very shallow estuary area where you can sit and enjoy the water or go for little dips without any rough waves. And there's a little spot for snorkeling with spikey stone fish and eels and a number of tropical and colorful fish. There are 30m or so tall forested sand dunes, which I've seen nothing like in my life. The Tonga people around there still use traditional methods for catching fish (complicated fish traps that funnel fish in the river into catchment areas). They look like spiraling fences in the river. It's quite a sight. And there are people line fishing on the ocean-side beach as well. I'd love to go back but I don't think I'll have time. And tomorrow I start my hiking safari which runs through Wednesday. I’m quite excited about it.

Last weekend I went back to Cape Town for a friend’s wedding. The Durban airport is a four or so hour drive from here and it’s a two hour flight from there to Cape Town. Plus the travel time on the Cape Town side and the waiting-in-the-airport time, it made for long days on Friday and Sunday. But it was a beautiful wedding and a nice opportunity to see friends.

The other thing was that after six weeks in Ingwavuma, even the Durban airport was a shock. Look at all those lights and all the things you could buy! I mean, the airport has a Woolies so you can get organic Ayershire yogurt in the airport. I can’t even get plain yogurt of any sort in Ingwavuma.

* On the Cape Town-Durban flight on the way back from the above-mentioned wedding, AmaZulu, a major soccer team in the top division here, and Maritzburg FC, a smaller team, were both on the same plane.


the big five aren’t necessarily the biggest, nor are they the best.

Filed under: — adrian @ 12:27 pm

I’m not quite sure the reason for it but I’ve noticed that holding hands by same-sex friends is somewhat common here. I could guess that it could be because there isn’t a visible homosexual community to speak of to the point where the homophobic reactions to same-sex affection doesn’t happen. Or perhaps it’s just cultural.

Tutoring continues. Helping final-years with physics really hasn’t happened so I switched to helping grade 11s prepare for their end-of-year math exam. It’s a different set of things they need to know, so it’s been nice for me working through different problems.

I also started tutoring English and math at an upstart school nearby. It’s sort of grade 2-7 material so it’s quite basic, sometimes to the point where I find it difficult to explain. And English is just generally hard to explain, given that the ‘rules’ were made up based on a highly irregular spoken language.

children's radio project
four of the kids from the Children’s Radio Project broadcasting on the community radio station.

As I mentioned two kids from the children’s radio project (2nd from left and far right, above) were trying to get to NYC for a UNICEF workshop and awards presentation which they were invited to after the program won a regional award from the organization.

Well, the kids got to New York (mostly) without incident and seemed like they had a good time. Not only that, but they/ the program won the global UNICEF children’s radio award, which we’re all very excited about.

Things I can’t get in Ingwavuma includes: plain yogurt, butter, chicken breast (without buying most of a chicken), natural peanut butter; most restaurant-type or pre-cooked food like pizzas, burgers, curries, etc;

Different bugs seem to decide that my place is a good place to be. First it was ants. The least amount of food left out would draw a swarm of ants. Then it was fruit flies. Now it seems to be transitioning to mosquitoes.

Safety is much less of an issue here than in Cape Town. I’ve never once felt unsafe here and apparently other people don’t either: the other day at the market (admittedly on a slow day/ time), someone had left their car unattended and running outside when he went in. Wow.

After being dry and hot for a few days, Friday was muggy. I’m not used to the humidity and after a 15 minute walk up the hill to one of the schools for tutoring my shirt was drenched in sweat. I’m going to bring a change of shirts next time I go.

There’s a chance I’ll get to see some of the next two Steelers games on tape delay. That would be very exciting. So far I have mostly been following the team by reading up about the games and the moves the team is making on the internet, though I did get to listen to a couple of the early games online.

tembe elephant

After a beach weekend trip had to be canceled last minute, I decided to spend a day at Tembe Elephant Park which is nearby. It’s a different sort of park in that most people that go stay the night, a package that includes two game drives with rangers and all of the meals. (It’s a very sandy area so driving oneself isn’t feasible unless he has a stout vehicle.)

The game viewing wasn’t spectacular with the main sights among the big mammals being an elephant (above) and two rhino, but there were some nice surprises like seeing a large number of nyala and the fairly rare and diminutive suni. The food and accommodation and company was all good, though.

Next weekend I’ll be attending a wedding outside of Cape Town. I’m not looking forward to the travel days (driving 4 hours to/ from Durban airport plus the 2 hour flight), but I’m excited about the wedding and the people I’ll see.


thank you, internet

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:47 am

I’m listening to the Steelers opener online. This makes me so happy. This brings me to two conclusions. 1) The internet is awesome. 2) I love the Steelers in a completely irrational way. I’m fine with that.


the optimistic season

Filed under: — adrian @ 6:15 am

Pirate's Game

The Pirates have started 2-0 for the first time since 2007 and the first time at home since 1993. This early in the season, it’s possible to be unreasonably optimistic. Maybe the worst losing streak for a franchise in American sports history will come to an end. Maybe they’ll even be in contention for the playoffs! I mean, two games into the season, they already have a player who has hit three home runs.

It seems fitting that the season starts during spring, which is the optimistic season. Flowers are blooming and the world starts anew out of winter’s frigid clutches. Summer is coming (; we should all stand clear).

It seems odd that we have complimentary seasons here, that the major league season starts in the autumn. Autumn is less optimistic than realistic or preparatory. Winter is coming and we must prepare. It’s not that there isn’t anything to be optimistic about—I love winter clothing and fruits—but it’s not a season built on optimism.

But I suppose I’ll have to put on my hats and hoodies and eat my guavas while I cheer on the Pirates.


peanut butter ball

Filed under: — adrian @ 5:31 am

Sometimes I think 10 year old Adrian was sort of brilliant. At that age my brother and I came up with the Peanut Butter Ball (TM).

Take a bowl, put in some peanuts, other nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, or whatever you like. Put a blob of peanut butter and roll it around picking up stuff, Katamari-style, until you have a peanut butter ball covered in delicious stuff.

Take a bite out of it. Push the freshly revealed peanut butter into the bowl again, picking up more stuff. Continue until all the peanut butter and treats are gone.

I tried this again the other day: still good.

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