Sure, it's iPhone day, but that's not the only thing going on for Steve Jobs today. It's also the premiere of Ratatouille, the new Pixar movie. So far, it looks like the movie is getting somewhat better reviews than the gadget, but I'm betting that both will do just fine.
Last Sunday, the Yankees played the Giants, which is a rare occurrence. But an unexpected rare event took place when Roger Clemens came in to pitch in relief for New York. It was only the second time in his long career that Clemens had pitched in relief in a regular season game. The first time was 23 years earlier, when he was a rookie. Interestingly, that game was at the Oakland Coliseum, about 10 miles as the seagull flies from his location last Sunday. There must be something about that San Francisco Bay air that inspires Roger to relieve.
By pitching on Sunday, Clemens set a record: longest period of time between relief appearances. He broke the existing record by a mere 7 years.
Yesterday I did something I hadn't done in about 30 years:
I got on a bicycle and rode it.
My kindly employer provides shared bikes to help people get around our increasingly sprawling campus. I've been wanting to ride one, but I've been a little worried that I might embarrass/kill myself if I tried. Last night, I worked until about 8:00 PM, and I was leaving, I decided it was late enough to avoid embarrassment and traffic, and still light enough to ride safely. So I grabbed the bike, put my briefcase in the basket, adjusted the seat, and jumped on.
You know that saying that you never forget how to ride a bike? Oh yes you do :-(. When I first started pedaling, I had serious concerns about losing my balance and falling over. I soon got over that, but then discovered I couldn't seem to get the thing to go in straight line. So I dragged the bike to the back of the building where there were fewer cars parked and tried again. Better! As I got up some speed, I got less wobbly, although I still wasn't traveling as straight as I would have liked. And then, the old feeling of being 12 years old and flying to the comic book store on my banana-seat Schwinn, wind in my face, returned all at once.
I made one quick loop of the parking lot, being very careful not to crash to my doom (imagine the headline: "South Bay Man Dies in One-Bike Crash"). After riding for less than 10 minutes, I was already winded. But it felt great. And then I got into my comfortable car and drove home.
I was going to write an awesome post today predicting that when you buy an iPhone, you could just take it home and activate it via iTunes rather than sitting around the store doing paperwork. I'm glad I didn't spend a lot of time writing about said theory, because Apple just announced it as fact.
There are several reasons why you could see this coming:
- Activating a cell phone sucks. You sit there and fill out paper (paper! what year is this?) forms, get pressured to buy insurance, etc. Clearly not an Apple-like experience.
- Store people steal the out-of-box experience from you, including non-Apple people working at AT&T stores. That's not acceptable.
Rod Beck was a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and San Diego Padres. He was my favorite Giant when he played here; he might be my favorite Giant of all time. Rod died this past weekend at age 38. He had demons that manifested themselves as substance abuse, and the demons finally won.
Rod wasn't just a great baseball player. He was completely genuine. In a throwback to an earlier era, he would hang around with fans and buy them a beer. When he needed to rebuild his career, he joined the minor league Iowa Cubs and lived in a trailer in the ballpark parking lot, where his door was open to visitors. He gave time and money to charities, especially pediatric AIDS.
Here, only two weeks later, is what I think happened:
When the screen goes black and the sound goes off, that's literally the end for us, the viewers. As Bobby said in the first episode this year, "You probably don't hear it when it happens to you". Well, it happened to us, and we didn't hear it. Life goes on for the Soprano family -- we just don't get to see it any more. Nice.
Tony and his family getting killed? It doesn't make sense. He's made peace with the New York family. They're eating dinner at a restaurant we've never seen before -- how could anyone know they were going to be there and plan to kill them?
The venerable (OK, decrepit) Vallco Fashion Park mall in Cupertino is being completely remodeled. One of the first stages of redevelopment is the sparkling new Cupertino Square 16 theaters. When you go to buy your overpriced popcorn at Cupertino Square, take a close look at the menu boards behind the concession counter: they're live graphics on big Sony monitors. Every so often, the menu bits animate: the picture of a hot dog becomes a little hot dog movie, as we swoop in on the hot dog and it gets relish on it; the popcorn bucket fills up and a piece of popcorn falls off the top; the sparkly soda pours into the cup. Local geeks stood and stared so long that we almost missed our movie.