matt's weblog . . .

  matt's weblog . . .: July 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

I got burned. . .

. . . literally and figuratively.

First, last night, after I returned from the GRBA golf outing, I decided to make myself a pizza. So, I put the pizza stone in the oven and proceeded to patiently pre-heat. Once it was ready, I donned oven mits, pulled out the pizza stone, put it on top of the stove, took off the oven mits, and threw on the frozen pizza. Then, the phone rang, and I picked it up and started a conversation with Steph (who was in K-zoo with Jacob visiting her parents). Evidently, I am incapable of multi-tasking because I then grabbed the pre-heated pizza stone to put my frozen pizza back in the oven. Then, I felt my flesh begin to sear like a steak, dropped said pizza stone, almost puked from the pain, and undoubtedly broke out into a string of expletives seasoned with a fair amount of screaming and groaning. I have second degree burns on the meaty part of both hands and fully across both thumbs and all my fingertips (except my pinkies, which I am using to type this blog post --I am 20 minutes into it at this point) -- all because pizza stones (which look no different blazing hot or ice cold) don't warn you when they're too hot to touch (yes, that's right, this is solely the fault of the pizza stone). Crap, this is not going to be good.

Second, Floyd Landis showed me (and the vast majority of the cycling and sports press) to be an over-reactive little girl by making up all but 30 seconds of the 8 MINUTES he lost Wednesday, in yesterday's stage (which was arguably the toughest stage of the Tour and which finished with the toughest climb in the Tour). With the final individual time trial on Saturday, and with Landis being one of the best time trialists in the race, he may well (and, indeed, probably will) win the Tour. Although most of Americans have unplugged themselves from bike racing in a post-Lance world, I agree with the Tour director that this was the single greatest individual performance/comeback in the modern era. I have eaten my crow, Floyd, nice work.

P.S. Total time to type two paragraphs with my decorative fingers: 38 minutes. D'oh.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

THE bonk . . .

It's called a lot of different things in a lot of different sports (mostly endurance sports) and it's cause could be any number of different issues, but call it what you will -- bonking, cracking, hitting the wall, crashing, blowing up, or just pooping out -- even casual cycling fans are being made aware today of how truely (almost, unbelievably) amazing are the feats of Lance Armstrong.

Today, just a little over 3 days from the finish line, 2 days from the Tour's last time trial (the discipline at which he is undoubtedly one of the best in the field), and a mere 15k from the end of the stage, Floyd Landis -- Lance Armstrong's one time, long-time teamate who left no bridge unburned when he left the USPS (to then become Discovery) team after the '04 Tour -- showed that he was not, his own belief notwithstanding, the next great American cyclist. He came to the 15k marker about 2 minutes up on his nearest "real" competition and finished the stage 8 minutes out (with 3 days left, he'd need a miracle to even make up 1/2 that).

This was Landis' one great shot at the win. All of the major names in the sport and the prohibitive favorites -- Ulrich, Basso, Vinokourov, etc. -- were tossed in doping allegations just days before the Tour started. Couple that with the fact that the typically solid Leipheimer had an inexplicably poor individual time trial in which he gave up 6 minutes and, wham-o, Landis is transformed from A favorite to THE favorite. This was HIS Tour to lose. Considering that he will have hip replacement surgery after the season and he's not exactly a spring chicken anymore, it was probably his last Tour to lose as well.

Was it the cycling gods getting him for the remarable display of hubris demonstrated by Landis' riding around on a yellow bike with yellow tires in a yellow helmet with gold glasses every time he donned the yellow jersey (Armstrong did something similar the last couple of Tours as well, but only on the ride into Paris, and even then only after already having 4 or 5 consecutive Tours to his name)? Who knows, but click here to see the interview (given just hours after the finish of the stage) by a man who had the Tour de France wrapped-up with a bow on it for him and just couldn't close the deal. Is this nonchalance for real or is this clinical-level denial?

long time, no post . . .

Well, admittedly, it's been an inexcusably long time since I last posted. There's a lot going on that I'd love to tell you about, but time is an increasingly precious commodity these days. At any rate, at some point, I'll post again to update you on the Scotty/PETA "spat" and to fill you in on the details of the Final Four (both things I promised to do in earlier posts, and both things I have neglected to do as of yet), but for now, I wanted to provide a link to my somewhat limited readership to a CNet article discussing the Net Neutrality issue I tried to explain a couple of months ago. The article itself is interesting, but the real "action" is in Scott Cleland's responsive post and the comments thereto (particularly the back and forth between the article's author, Molly Wood, and Scott Cleland). Anyway, here's the link. I'd recommend reading the primer on the issue I posted here before jumping into the article as it will give you a good deal of background on what, exactly, it is that is being discussed. Again, as I've said before, this is a critically important issue to the future of information technologies and the internet in particular. Although Net Neutrality legislation is (0r, would be, rather) pre-emptive regulation (at this point), rather than reactionary, it is, in many, many ways the Trust Busting of the Information Age; and I, for one, despite my conservative capitalist tendencies, think it is an absolute necessity if we want to avoid the clear ills of a tiered internet. I do not have the fear expressed by Mr. Cleland that this regulation will stagnate competition and curtail the advancement of broadband technologies; in fact, I think that when this tiered internet scheme of broadband providers is buried by effective net neutrality regulation, increased technological advancement will be a necessary by-product compelled by competition (e.g. if broadband providers are prohibited from competing on the basis of their respective pricing models/tiers, they will only be able to win customers from competitors by becoming more efficient and providing a better product for the same price -- hence, market-driven advancement in broadband technologies), but get informed and make your own decision on the issue. I'd be interested to hear what you think.

As an aside, I have a golf outing coming up tomorrow. Our team is comprised of Eric Lanning, Matt Seyffert, and Kelly Clum-Matthysse. Wish us luck!

Will post again, soon...hopefully!