adrian is rad

4/1/2013

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.

https://www.teammarketing.com/public/files/2011_mlb_fci.pdf

 

Adrian

 

 

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.

 

-Colin

  (more…)

9/21/2012

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.

5/8/2012

arts this week (IFFB, Archers of Loaf, Horse Feathers)

Filed under: — adrian @ 5:42 am

This past week and a half has been pretty busy, including seeing three movies, three bands and two baseball games. I won’t talk much about the games—you can find out what happened in the two games (Sunday’s 17 inning Red Sox loss and last Monday’s win vs Oakland)—but here’s what happened with the movies and bands.

Films:

  • Sleepwalk with Me was the opening night film for the Independent Film Festival Boston, where I saw all of these films. It’s Mike Birbiglia’s semi-fictionalized take on his life, sleepwalking, relationships and becoming a comedian. I liked his comedy for a while. And, really, what I mean by his comedy is his story telling style. I wasn’t disappointed. This is equal parts funny and thoughtful and I’d recommend it. My one fear with the film is that producer and cowriter Ira Glass will get a lot of the credit where most of the meat of the story come straight from Birbiglia’s comedy.
  • Knuckleball!: This is a documentary about the baseball pitch. Since about 1992, when I became fascinated with Tim Wakefield, I’ve liked the knuckleball and knuckleball pitchers. This game an interesting look at the history, some of the pitchers and the mechanics of the actual pitch. Most of the film, though, looked at the two pitchers who were still throwing it in 2011: RA Dickey and Tim Wakefield. (Wakefield has since retired.) I enjoyed it a lot, but I think it may only be for those who are interested in baseball.
  • Under African Skies is a documentary about Paul Simon’s Graceland with a large part of the film focusing on Simon’s first trip back to South Africa since the album was released. (He played in Zimbabwe in 1987, but not in South Africa itself.) He reunited with a lot of the original musicians and through and around them playing the album’s music together again, some of the story about how the album was made and the aftermath were told. I really thing Graceland is one of the best pop albums ever, so I wasn’t a hard sell on this movie, but I thought it was a really well-made film.

Concerts:

  • Archers of Loaf @ the Middle East: I’ve liked this band since I was 18; unfortunately they broke up when I was 17. Luckily they reunited last year and added a Boston stop to their tour dates this year. The show itself was great. It wasn’t just that they played all the old songs I loved, but that there were all these fans seeing the band they couldn’t see for all those years. It made for a fun atmosphere.
  • Horse Feathers @ Brighton Music Hall: I’d seen Horse Feathers before, in a small show in San Francisco almost four years ago. This time it was a Saturday night crowd in Boston and a sold out show. The band played well and from that aspect it was a great show. The crowd was very chatty, though, which distracted from the overall experience. I’ll never get why one would pay 15 dollars to see a band and then talk he whole time.
  • Feist @ House of Blues Boston: After all of the above Margaret and I were not exactly excited for another night out. Add to that that I’m always sceptical of large venues like House of Blues. Feist came out and started the hard, scattershot rhythm of “The Bad in Each Other” and we were won over. And, though it’s very big, House of Blues has good sound and decent sightlines.

8/22/2011

I miss this hat

Filed under: — adrian @ 4:17 pm

I wore it (purchased September 2006) until it was fell apart. If you ever see one, buy it and I’ll pay you back.

Update: I found out that the style is called a Hooley Hat. It’s by New Era. I can’t find the Oakland Athletics version of it, though. Maybe it’s only available at the stadium (where I bought the original hat).

7/11/2011

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.

*pre-asterix

3/23/2011

oh yeah, people read this

Filed under: — adrian @ 6:37 am

Running into the rad Tarky on Monday reminded me that people read this and that there’s been a lot that’s happened since I really updated.

Apartment:

  • I live in one now, having moved in last week. It’s a 1 bedroom in an old building. I found a promotional book about it written in 1899. I believe the building is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Jeans:

  • I wear jeans now. Weird, right?

Some things I like about Boston:

  • Friends. I have them here.
  • Beer bars. There are some great ones. The bar across the street (warning: link has autoplay music) has 31 beers on tap.
  • Walking. I walked over five miles yesterday just running errands. And I can walk around at night.

Travel

  • Since I got back to the US America, my route has been something like: Charlotte->DC->Philadelphia[1]->DC->Charlotte->Boston->New Hampshire->Boston->Philadelphia->New York City->Boston->New Orleans->Boston->Charlotte->Boston (via Philadelphia and New Haven)
  • I went to New Orleans for Gumbeaux’s wedding. It was a grand time. The wedding and the reception were in an old jazz hall. Fantastic food, good people, the whole lot. I wore my new suit (see below) and read Seamus Heaney’s “Scaffolding” at the request of the couple.
  • wedding suit

Concerts
rural alberta advantage @ the middle east

  • Rural Alberta Advantage @ the Middle East 3/9–It was really great to see these guys again. They put on a super energetic set of their trademark earnest fuzz-folk. This is the sort of show that reminds me why I like live music.
  • Amiina @ the Middle East 3/19–Sigur Ros’ string section has their own band, called Amiina. They make really pretty music in their own right. The only problem was there was a loud show going on either at the Middle East Upstairs or TT’s so it disrupted the quiet music Downstairs a bit.
  • Matt Pond PA @ the Middle East 3/20–I hadn’t seen this band in 8 years but I went because my friend Shawn now plays cello in the band. And they were really great. Great mix. Great song selection. Just a show I was really glad to be at overall. And it’s also a thrill to see your friend play all these songs you know and love.

Books

  • Blood Sweat and Chalk by Tim Layden — Basically a book about the development of modern football strategy. I haven’t read many books about football but I really thought this one was interesting. Chapters cover things like Cover 2 and Zone Blitz and really explains both how they work and how they came about. A worthwhile read for anyone who spends a lot of their time in the fall watching football on TV.
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen — Time’s “Great American Novelist” has gotten quite a lot of hype about this book. I liked Corrections so I wanted to read this one. It’s a very good book. Very good character development and it weaves together many different stories without making any of them seem superfluous. I wouldn’t call it amazing, but it’s worth a read.
  • I’m now reading Garry Wills’ Lincoln at Gettysburg and Junot Diaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Both are good so far.

Movies:

  • True Grit — A very well put together film. I loved the acting, particularly by Jeff Bridge and Hailee Steinfeld.
  • Social Network — I finally saw it. Very interesting film. I know it’s not exactly true, but still gives some insight into how the whole thing came about.

[1] Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE in most cases

2/5/2011

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.

11/21/2010

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.

11/7/2010

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.

9/12/2010

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.

7/20/2010

only my dad

Filed under: — adrian @ 1:43 pm

This is a paraphrase of something that happened to my dad in the last few days. I laughed a lot when he told me this story.

He was at their golf club hitting some balls on the driving range and he took a break to get some water. Another member came up to get some water. My dad introduced himself.

Other member: “I’m Marty Schottenheimer*. Nice to meet you.”

Dad: “And what do you do, Marty?”

Marty: “I was in football.”

Dad: “What did you do in football?”

Marty: “I was the head coach of the Redskins, Browns, Chiefs and Chargers.”

True story.

*if you need a reminder

the world cup is over; the gees is still hanging on…for now

Filed under: — adrian @ 9:37 am

I’m been trying to think of what to say about the World Cup now that it’s over.

In many ways that’s very similar to how I and many South Africans feel now: after a month of intense concentration on the World Cup and months of build up, we’re at a loss as to what to do now. We have to watch, talk about, and think about other things. But what else is there to talk about. The year’s biggest rugby competition isn’t providing enough distraction.

When people talk about the World Cup now, much of the energy is spent talking about the pride South Africans feel. South Africa hosted without major incident, visitors enjoyed the country, and the event went smoothly. The people that I’ve talked to are enormously proud of that.

There’s also talk of the gees—the spirit—that the World Cup brought. Many saw a united South Africa for the first time. For a month, people were just people and South Africa was, at least temporarily, that post-racial, post-class idealized society one dreams of.

But, in the end, South Africa is still a highly unequal society in economic terms and I don’t see how the newly found utopia can survive with such unfortunate realities. South Africa will always have the World Cup, though, and that view of what this country can be.

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