Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Danica Patrick

Danica Post Sponsor
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Well, apparently the writers at the Indianapolis Star (the top motorsports newspaper) are thinking what I'm thinking. Good.

The best part of the race was when she passed for the lead with 10 laps left and they showed the whole crowd up on their feet cheering.

It will be fun to watch and see if she really can turn the sport around. To do it, she is going to have to do some winning, but she had a bunch of great quotes on the weekend. When asked what it meant for her to finish fourth (with the obviously implied "holy shit, you are a woman and managed fourth,") she replied "It means I should have finished three places higher."

When Kathy and I were talking about her, she brought up "the pictures," with a comment that it was sad they had to market her like that (Kathy, let me know if that was misquoted at all). In case you haven't seen them, there they are. They brought up a couple of questions.

Side note: Kathy thinks the ass crack shot is, er, less empowering. I had to vote for the other.

A little research answered the first question. The FMH pictures were taken before she had her "major league" contract. She was racing formula atlantics, and probably not under contract to any sponsors. And racing is expensive when you don't have a "bigtime" sponsor. We'll assume that she was doing what she had to do to keep racing. The picture at the beginning of this post is her in the current sponser's gear.

The second question was, would I be able to find any pictures of male drivers doing "fashion" pictures like that? I thought that there might be some goofy shirtless GQ shots or something like that.

Well, the answer is not really. There are a few "outside the car" shots, but you don't get much more provocative than these:



Dario Franchitti, husband of Ensign Leffler. For my money, the picture at the top of this post is in the ballpark with those. Hopefully, that is the new standard now that she has "arrived." I want to see her racing, not wearing plastic.

So, go Danica, there is a lot at stake.

More on Danica (background)

Bobby and Danica
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
So anyways, this might ramble a little. There is a lot of subject matter here.

First some background. When I was growing up with John Lischke, I went to races. A lot.

Every May weekend was spent, essentially, in Indianapolis. Two weekends of qualifying followed by the 500 on memorial day weekend. I went to the race itself every year from the time I was about nine until I moved to Virginia. I was at time trials before I could walk.

I used to love those long weekends spent baking in the sun, cheering for Rick Mears. But in retrospect, maybe the cheering wasn't as important as I thought. Indy to me is really about getting together with my family and friends. There was nothing like walking up the stands right behind the scoring pylon and seeing the Weglarz and the Lohrs and the McDonalds (and the Kennedys and the Krauses) sitting in the same spot we always go to. Families we'd see mostly in May, but we would spend a lot of it together out in the sun.

Then when May was over, the next week was always the Rex Mays Classic at the Milwaukee Mile. It was heaven. They guys that I had be watching all May came to my hometown! During ever break I could at St. Rita's, I'd get as close to the windows as I could and listen for that low groan of the engines to make its way over from the State Fairpark Speedway. It was clearer when I got to later grades, and I was up on a higher floor.

But, we'd be at races a lot during the summer. Even if there wasn't an Indy Car race that weekend, we'd still be over at Angel Park in Sun Prarie most Sunday nights, eating hamburgers and corn, and going over to look at the sprint cars by their trailers after the A-Main had wrapped up. Or maybe we'd get lucky and the Outlaws would be at Hales Corners speedway. Or occasionally we'd go over to the Action Track in Terra Haute, IN, or Eldora in Ohio. Once I even went to the Little 500 the night before the Indy 500, "2000 turns to victory."

Sometimes with more family members, but as I was 10 years younger than my brother and sister, in some ways an only child, it was often my Dad and I. Like we said, "That Tom and his dad sure have a lot of fun together."

But the most fun was always chasing the Indy Cars. The season would traditionally start in Phoenix, but the second race of the season was Indy. Then, depending on the year, they'd go to Miwaukee, then Detroit (and Ed and Merriam Weglarz, some of our closest family friends, ran credentials for that race, so we were so close on the infield that we could literally touch the cars as they went by...er, if we wanted to lose fingers), then Cleveland (where the Weglarz ran credentials too!). The Michigan 500 was in there somewhere in the Irish Hills of Brooklyn, MI. Then the series would go out west for a month or two, but in September, they'd be back in Wisconsin at Road America.

The point is, some years I would see as many as six or seven of the 16 races, and a bunch right in a row. With the hookup from the Weglarz and my dad, we often had pit/garage passes too, so we were seeing the people up close. The owners, the drivers, the wrenches, the engineers, all of it. God I loved it. Indy cars burn methanol for fuel, and in the same way that Formula One cars running at stupidly high RPMs sound different than anything going, to me, the Indy cars smelled different, and it will come to you up in the stands. That was what clicked in my head when they started running, that smell, and I knew I was in for a good weekend.

Side Note: The ugliest noise I ever heard in my life was when Al Unser Jr. was at a dead stop accross the back stretch at RA, in a driving rain, and got obliterated by a driver who couldn't possibly have seen him at the speeds they were going in the rain (no windscreens on a Champ car). I can still hear it.

But then some things changed. A lot of it was the fact that I now live far away from the midwestern stomping grounds that the Indy cars frequent. But a lot of it had to do with the "rift."

You see, for years, the Indy 500, the biggest race on the circuit, was run by a different organization than the rest of the races. But, as was bound to happen I guess, eventually the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway realized that they had most of the power if they were willing to play hardball. Running an Indy car team is expensive ($20+ mil a year), and to do it, you need corporate sponsers. Corporate sponsers care about the one race that gets ratings, Indy.

When the split happened, most of the best drivers stayed with the series that had most of the races. What a mess, the best drivers didn't go to the best race. Attendence and ratings of both series slumped deeply. There is a lot of bitterness even still. Open wheel racing (Indy car) was in free fall while NASCAR was on the rise. And as my brother said, "Dad really wants me to go to the 500, but I just don't want to give a dime to Tony George (owner of Indy)." Plus, frankly, since the split, the racing hasn't been very good or interesting. I can see that, but it bums me out. I miss meeting everyone each May up in the stands.

You see, I've been back for timetrials exactly once, and that was mainly when my Dad was in bad health as an exuse to go see him. I haven't been to the race in years, nor have I felt especially compelled to watch it on TV.

All of this factors, one way or another, into the whole Danica Patrick thing. I so want Indy to be something I care about again. I want it to be something that my family and our friends care about. It was such an important part of my growing up that with Pavel(ina) on the way, I just want it like it was.

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Get used to those eyes kids. I think you are going to be seeing a lot of them on TV from now on.

More on this later, but Danica Patrick came within 2 gallons of fuel of winning the Indy 500 today. I think she is gonna make a bundle on endorsements, and maybe save the Indy Racing League if they market her well.

In other news, my Memorial Day Weekend binge entered day 2 today. Disaster!

Pork Ribs.
Homemade Salsa.
Baked Beans.
Grilled Zucchini.
Crab (the kind you have to hit with a mallet).
Beers (dammit!).
Ben n' Jerry Peanut Butter Cup.

The pain. The horror.

But at least we went shopping for the cookout tomorrow (kill me now).

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Mmm, Cream Cheese
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
I can see how this weekend is going to go.

Pigs in Blankets (including a Super Pig).
Recese Cups.
Crab Dip.
Animal Cookies.
Vanilla Wafers.
Pumpkin Dip.
Reynold's BarBQ.
And to finish, the Carrot Cake.

I hurt. And this is only day 1 of 3.


Friday, May 27, 2005

The Fake Tree

Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
One of the members of the mulchin' crew asked me today what type of plant this is. I told him that Kathy and I refer to it only as "the fake tree."

We have no idea. Kathy went out to an estate sale a couple of years ago and brought back a couple of plants, including a very anemic looking stick with three plastic looking leaves on it.

This was back when we lived in our apartment. We left the stick out on the deck, and each day when I left for work, I'd have to set it back up as it would get blown over.

We left it out during a hurricane, and it got blown down the stairs. When we moved, we left it on the deck at the house for a month or two, and then finally planted it. It still looked pretty much like it did when Kathy first brought it home. I could only conclude that it was fake. After all, the leaves look shiny and plastic.

But, strangly, the fake tree seems to be growing. Just a little bit each year, and despite the fact that it looks like it would be more at home in the tropics. It even put out some new leaves near the bottem for the first time.

Kathy mentioned today that if we move, she might want to take it with us. So, anybody know what this thing might be? Me and the mulchin' crew thought maybe a banana plant?

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Tommy Edison
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!
- Thomas A Edison

Well, uh, I'm American :)

Today on the Ride...I Saw a Camera

The ride this morning was filmed for a commercial for Fat Frogs, the joint I ride out of.

No picture with this post, and I apologize in advance to anyone who sees my spandex clad butt on thier TV...if I hear when the commercial is slated to run, I promise to warn you here.

Kinda makes you rethink that whole Hi Def TV thing, doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

El Caballo

Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Let us all take a moment to notice the NL RBI leader, Carlos "El Caballo" Lee. Viva The Bull!

To paraphrase the deft musings of an English soccer announcer, Carlos is a player capable of giving the ball some wood. Er, wait, it actually comes out a little icky when you change leather to wood. I guess that is why they are deft and I am American.

Today on the Ride...Wind, Rain, All That Kind of Thing

Joes Abandoned Bike
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Wet, cold and windy, and the miles were all mine! Good for the soul...

And then Joe's bike hanging on the wall when I got back...I would have shared the miles Joe.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Today on the Ride...I saw Dinos!

Dino Attack
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Good stuff. I hope when I am in my 70s, people get me Dinos for my birthday.

By then, maybe they'll even be real dinos! Recreated from bits of DNA! Er, or something.

And then I found 5 dinobucks.

Recognize the house Joe? When Joe (WLTG) goes on rides with me, he feels compelled (and I mean compelled) to yell "Fire in the Hole!" as we ride by. Here is why:


Monday, May 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Chris Capuano a Duke grad. Very few things in this world could make this ok.

He is a Brewer. That is one of those things.

1 Run in 8 1/3 innings pitched for the win. That is another.

Nice game Cappy. Still wish we could trade you for Brad Lidge. I guess we hit our ND quota with Craig Counsell the last couple of years...


Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Well, after my post on naming grounds, I had some new visitors leave some comments. One of them pointed me at Hull FC and spoke of their (old) ground, Boothferry Park.

Well, I wanted to see a picture. So I googled it up and found a great site that reveiws football (soccer) grounds.

Two things stood out.

One, the priorities of the fans. If you look at the table of contents, obviously Where To Drink rates more highly than How To Get There. (And they wonder why they were banned from Europe...)

The other was this section on what the fans sing.

The fans at these games seem like they have so much more fun than we do over here. Maybe it is the priority on booze and singing.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
God I love this show. Easily my favorite on TV right now.

I haven't heard better dialog in a long time (maybe since Sportsnite?). If I had the time, I'd watch each episode two or three times to try to track all the nuances of the conversations. They are just sitting back and having fun with the language. My favorite, and the character I think the show revolves around, is Al Swearengen played by Ian McShane.

Al Swearengen: My oath on this; everyday that the widow sits on her ass in New York City, looks west at sunset, and thinks to herself "God bless you ignorant cocksuckers in Deadwood who strive mightily and have little money, to add to my ever increasing fortune," she'll be safe from the whiles of Al Swearengen.

I caught McShane on whatever Bill Maher's current talkshow is on HBO. Maher demanded that McShane say "cocksucker." That was good use of talk show moderator power.

Shame the season finale was tonight, but it was more good TV, and with my new found free time, I'll probably squeeze in a replay sometime this week.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Doug Davis looks like a pirate (not as much as Pakes at the bowling ally in the pirate shirt, but close).

He also threw a complete game shutout today, the first for the Brewers this year.

That earns him a place of honor here today.

I'm sure he'll be appropriately thrilled.

What is in a Name?

The Valley
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Sometimes I forget how truly delightful the English are. Even their soccer holligans have some taste.

On this side of the pond, about 10 years ago we really started screwing up how we name sports stadiums, and we're getting worse.

Sports are supposed to be fun, but corporate America has taken hold. There are a few counter examples left, like Fenway Park, but a cool 5-10 million bucks for "naming rights" means we end up with more Miller Parks and Federal Express Fields. Bah. Almost worse is when fans protest losing a classic name like Mile High Stadium and we end up with crap like Invesco Field at Mile High.

So here is to the Brits, and some of my favourite names from the Premier League.

Highbury - Home of (the) Arsenal
St. Andrews - Home of Birmingham City FC
Ewood Park - Home of Blackburn Rovers
The Valley - Home of Charlton Athletic
Stamford Bridge - Home of Chelsea
Craven Cottage - Home of Fulham FC
Anfield - Home of Liverpool FC
Old Trafford - Home of Manchester United
Carrow Road - Home of Norwich City FC

And my favorite

The Hawthorns - Home of West Bromwich Albion

(We won't mention Reebok Stadium.)

Friday, May 20, 2005

A Chinese Proverb

He who knows patience knows peace.

Whoever said that didn't have a bunch of resumes riding the internet.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
The Bike.

I've missed the Bike.

Stress and any little excuse keep me away from the Bike.

But the Bike is the cure for stress and any number of little excuses.

Two years ago the Bike and I were pretty tight. There were only 2 or 3 people on the rides who were faster, and they had been riding for a long while.

The last two years it has been tough, because of stress and lots of little excuses. I'd forgotten what it is like to feel strong on the Bike.

But after a week of effort, I see some signs. The wind hurts less. The saddle hurts less. The other riders aren't getting away as quickly. God I love the Bike.

Snip Snip

Chord Cut
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
So while watching ER tonight, I found out another ground rule of my marriage. I was in the computer room and from the bedroom I heard my lovely wife, who also happened to be watching ER, exclaim "You're not cutting shit!"

She elaborated, "If it is attached to me, you aren't cutting it."

A fine rule for any marriage, especially if both sides live by it. Also, after searching for a picture to go with this post, I'm not sure I could pull the trigger.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Original Soccer Park

Soccer Park C
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
I have been fortunate enough the last 2-4 years to get to play soccer at lunch on tuesdays and thursdays. What an unexpected bonus it has been!

Have a look at our first field. Not more than 80 feet long, I think, and not wider that 20 feet at one of the ends.

You can see the tree in the middle of the field. There used to be two. And when we started playing, that field felt huge. I mean really really big. One sprint of about 10 steps and I was toast for a good 10 minutes.

We also used to have a battle of wills with the locals. The Australian contingent would try to hit as many cards as he could with shots, and the locals would try to leave as much dog poop on the field as they could. Orange cones, sticks, and piles of leaves were all used to mark poo outposts during play.

I got to know some of the people I worked with a lot better, and met a bunch of people both at my office, and from around town that I never would have known.

Soccer. Who knew?

Could I Possibly Suck More?

The Note
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
Did you read the note?

Ok, good. I was on my Black Rider tour and someone handed me a note and said "Dan couldn't be here, but he asked to give you this." This was the note.

I put it in my wallet/palm case/thing and forgot about it. Obviously, it is now much traveled, and way too late to do anything about it, but it made me feel bad every time I looked at it.

So I'll feel bad this one last time and move on. I hope I signed a card and gave it to someone to give to him, and I hope that person actually gave it to him.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

May 12 Fortune

May 12 Fortune
Originally uploaded by sethsdisciple.
No shit, I got this fortune from my cookie on May 12.

For those of you who couldn't read it:

Your spirit of adventure leads you down an exciting new path.
Lucky numbers: 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 40

Remember those lottery numbers kids.


I asked one draught of earlier, happier sights,
Ere fitly I could hope to play my part.
Think first, fight afterwards-the soldier's art:
One taste of the old time sets all to rights!
-Robert Browning

I'm going to try not to head to Norfolk tomorrow. Even without a job, the gravity is still very strong. I'll miss the meatloaf and the meatloaf gang.

Unless I actually hear about my computer tomorrow morning. Then all bets are off.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Coming in for a playtest, and the Ewok parade around downtown trying to evade the Christmas parade and get back to the hotel. Disaster.

Kendrick reduced to the floor of the booth at Chicago Comic-con suffering through some bad (BAD) tuna fish, but REFUSING to leave. All I ever needed to know about Kendrick I learned that day.

Seeing Kathy for the first time at the Marriot on the playtest weekend. I believe she had a copy of Scrye with her that had a profile of me and a picture so she could pick me out. Am I making that up?

Hanging out with Kathy before walking down to interview with Carol for the Rebel Base Leader job. Deciding that the job was going to be mine before I got to 253. Poor Sean Smallman never had a chance.

Kevin and Kyle making their grand entrance to Aspen, and shaking everybody's hand, moving table to table. The two nicest guys there.

Going to Aspen worlds after already agreeing to take the job and going 1-3 in the first 4 rounds. Walking off and having Warren quip "good thing we already hired you." Funniest thing he ever said around me.

Jonathan and Kendrick dealing with the rules Q&A before the Aspen games. Yikes!

Participating in the only SWCCG games seeded by world ranking. The only ever! The first round of worlds. That feature was soon removed from the program, but not until after Kevin pasted me.

Driving down from Kathy's condo in D.C. the week before I started to get the lay of the land and talk to Sandy. So fucking lost. All these damn rivers! Isn't the ocean around here somewhere? Bridges? Tunnels? And a stack of rules documents I took back with me and NEVER read.

Releasing Sandy's best effort for a rules document for SWCCG, being told almost immediately to pull it down, and getting called into Warren's office for a scolding.

Talking marketing puzzle with Jason. It was like a pre-game design class.

Sorting through eleventy thousand card idea submissions from the public with Carol to find the one we would eventally choose to send to Jerry. S-Foils. Hah!

Softball, especially co-ed softball. Tim and I have seen and done it all together. Two broken noses on consecutive batters, and Kathy and Gab sitting in adjacent beds in the emergency room. The ball that hit Kathy at 2nd base was hit so hard that I couldn't get my head whipped around to see it from the pitcher's mound.

Soccer. Who knew?

30 bouncy balls for my birthday. They'll be finding those things in nooks and cranies of the office for years.

25c for a bouncy ball at Waterside. I regret that we'll never get the complete pool ball set.

The noodles and the meatloaf. And Phil. And our concerns for Phil's love life (well, let us be truthful here in our reflections...our concerns for the yellow cake Phil's girl makes).

The Kwans who run Subway. And their damn free cookies. They couldn't be sweeter.

Lunch club and the glasserole.

Grill'en up some red meat on playtest weekends. The look of absolute delite on skinny Joe when we served the full fat burgers (with a huge slice of cheese!) to the testers and other uninnitiated rabble. Then Joe and I would bust out the 93% lean stuff for ourselves. Wostershire, a dash of garlic powder, a dash of thyme, some salt and pepper. That is what Julia Child told me. And never, EVER, squish the burgers on the grill. That is what Alton told me.

Lunch around Norfolk with Ed...the Donut Dinette.

Completely glazed over afternoons at the PD house listening to Bill and Warren talk rules. I learned how to work with Warren there.

Special Edition with Jerry. I learned a lot.

The horrific Sunday that culminated the total and complete rewrite of the 10 cards that redefined Decipher's most lucrative game ever, and well after the cards had any chance at all of being tested again. I have a memory of walking into the PD house and seeing Chuck looking wrecked on the couch and Bill and Warren carving and carving on our work. WHERE WAS JERRY?!?

Worlds '98 judging with Chuck. I would kill for the man after that weekend. And I quote Jerry "Operatives, who knew?" I know I didn't. And catching Michael Ribolet miscounting his victory margin in the first game of the finals, and me making the other guy count. The other kid won the second game and the championship...but he wouldn't have if I hadn't caught Michael fucking cheating Ribolet. HAH!

Endor with Chuck. That was the most fun I ever had on a set.

DSII with Reynolds. A fair arguement could be made that I should have hung it up after that set. My god that was some rewarding shit. 7 goddam you all. It was MY IDEA. MINE. AND YOU BOUGHT LUKE AND THE EMPEROR. AND DEEP DOWN YOU LIKED IT!!!

JK with Justin, and the playtest in Milwaukee. I really just wanted to see Miller Park. But it was cheaper. Really.

Everything I ever worked on with Joe. Everything.

In the later days, feeling malaise about designing cards and then getting that look from Joe, and knowing I had to produce the goods.

A cure for the malaise? Writing/editing Wars lore. Fun shit, really. The most fun I had at work over the last couple of years.

Talking quotes and tour and timmy (and more rosewater) with Brad.

Beating the hell out of the old Wars system with Evan. I think the new one kicked ass.

Girard bummed. Girard excited. Girard bouncing. Girard talking sports. Girard talking Puerto Rico. Girard talking WoW. Girard talking Design. Girard ranting about the boards. Girard talking Mets. Girard pissed that we were fucking up Design/Dev again. God love the Girard.

Talking O.C..

Cookouts at Tim's on Memorial Day. Damn was that boy determined to make a tradition. And damned if he didn't!

I was at Skywalker Ranch BJ (before Jar-Jar). I got sick on salmon and chocolate pudding at lunch. But I still made sure to get a sweatshirt at the gift shop.

The first time my desk got "rained out," under the skylight in the basement. It always did my heart good after that to see the tarp over someone else's fucking desk in that area.

The second time my desk got "rained out," this time over at the PD house on the third floor. A nor'easter came through and blew open the door and it rained and rained on my computer and god knows how many cards. I have always suspected Chuck or Mike left the door open a crack on accident, but don't tell them that. It really could have been the weather.

The third time my desk got "rained out" in the designer ally (when I was sitting where PW ended up at the end), when after a big rain the wall "weeped" over a bunch of my work. The third time! A ladder and patching cement were brought in, which mostly solved things. Mostly.

Coffee with JQ and Kendrick.

Coffee with Justin.

Coffee with Ed and Jeff discussing landscaping that never was.

The last project with Joe discussing a game that never will be.

I can't believe I'm saying this...

I'm at home, working on our P.C. It is a nice computer, with plenty of horses under the hood.

And yet, I find myself longing for the mac sitting on my (former) desk at Decipher. Hrmmph. "How can this be?" I don't think I could possibly have become a "mac" person...but I'm at least dependent on the damn thing now. I can open all the shit I need and get at all of the files quickly. This beast seems to be fighting me a bit, and always has, frankly. Have I become so used to the computer for people who can't be bothered with a real computer that I can't go back? Of all the damage done to my engineering "cred" by my years in gaming, my inability to use a P.C. as well as I would like might be right at the top of the list. I'm sure I'm going to find a bunch more though...

At the very least, I need to spend my 6 week vacation working on the the P.C. so when I start my new job I don't look like a complete jackass who can't work a computer...maybe Pam will let me buy my old machine.

I blame the white sneakers (If I understood this thing enough, I would include a link to Steve Jobs there).