Philadelphia 1, hitchBOT 0

Posted in Whatever Else on August 4th, 2015 by bill

It was only yesterday that I learned, posthumously, of the existence of hitchBOT, a hitchhiking “robot” created by some Canadian college professors. hitchBOT safely navigated its way around Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands, and in July set out to cross the United States. After being treated kindly and hospitably in Boston and New York, taken to a Red Sox game and Times Square, hitchBOT made a big mistake.

It went to Philadelphia.

Within hours, hitchBOT was lying decapitated in a ditch.

My initial reaction was, well of course that’s what happened. In Latin, “Philadelphia” means “City of Brotherly Love”; but in English, it means “City Where They Chuck D Batteries at Ballplayers.” As a native Philadelphian, I feel like I can say this without prejudice: Philadelphians are mean. They may not be meaner, on average, than other people in other places; but the ones that are mean are mean in a special way peculiar to the city.
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One final piece of advice from our friends in Scotland

Posted in Picture du jour, Whatever Else on August 3rd, 2015 by bill

Another sign

Posted in Picture du jour on July 31st, 2015 by bill

Take at the Edinburgh Museum of Modern Art:

Words to Live By

Posted in Picture du jour on July 22nd, 2015 by bill

This is the best sign I saw on my recent trip to the UK – advice that applies anywhere, anytime.

I Capture the Castle (with My Phone)

Posted in Picture du jour on July 14th, 2015 by bill

This photo was taken at Urquhart Castle, near Inverness in Scotland. In the foreground is a replica trebuchet built for a movie shoot a few years ago. In the background is Loch Ness. If you look close you may see Nessie peeking out from behind the branches at the left – if, you know, that’s what you want to see.

Lassi Come Home

Posted in Picture du jour on July 8th, 2015 by bill

This shot shows the menu of a restaurant called Punjab in Covent Garden in London. Note the third item under “Homemade Lassi.”

I meant to ask the waiter about this but got all caught up in the many exciting foods and forgot all about it. Ever since I’ve been wondering, what gives? Were they just fucking with us? Could you actually order it at some point, or are they planning to make it available at some point in the near future? Or do you just have to ask nicely and/or say the secret word? A return trip will probably be necessary.

Back to the Old Grit’n'Grind

Posted in Whatever Else on July 6th, 2015 by bill

After three weeks of travel both foreign and domestic, we are back in Humboldt County and back to regular old daily life, more or less. There will be things to say, maybe some pictures, once I’ve had a chance to get a little organized and get my head right.

In the meantime, here’s a shot I took in London, I think of the grit that the Cleveland Cavaliers were missing in those last couple games:

Round 4, Game 6: Warriors 105, Cavaliers 97

Posted in Golden (State) Years on June 17th, 2015 by bill

And there was much rejoicing.

The last time my favorite sports team won the championship was 1980, when the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. I turned 13 on the day of Game 2 of the Series, so this week marked the first time in my life I’ve gotten to pop the cork on a bottle of champagne to celebrate a title. It was delicious. Also strange. Let me explain.

When we arrived at Heathrow it was Tuesday morning, and my only priorities for the day were to get some sleep and to find a way to watch Game 6, which was scheduled to tip off around 2 a.m. The first was easy to accomplish, the second not so much. Searching the guide on the cable system in the flat we’re renting turned up a broadcast of the game; so far so good. But it was a subscription channel that would have to be activated, and getting that done turned out to be an ordeal.

In the meantime, I thought that London being a cosmopolitan metropolis, there might be someplace that Americans gathered to watch basketball in the wee hours of the morning; but if such a thing exists, I could find no evidence of it. The kind gentlemen who’s renting us this place tried diligently to get the necessary channel activated, but in late afternoon informed me that it could not be done. I had just woken up and was almost ready to accept this answer; I had discovered that we could at least stream the game on the iPad, which would have been OK.

But then I rallied and got on the horn to the channel in question, and finally got a phone number that expedited the solution of the problem. That sorted out, we adjourned to dinner at an Indian place called Bengal, which was fantastic. Afterward there was time to kill; we had a little walk in the park, did a crossword puzzle. There was soccer on the tube, then a lame episode of NBA Today, then the pregame blather. At last it was gametime.
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Round 4, Game 5: Warriors 104, Cavaliers 91

Posted in Golden (State) Years on June 16th, 2015 by bill

Life sure is funny. Here it is 2015, and I find myself on an airplane en route to London via Toronto, iPad in lap to jot down a few words about the fact that the Warriors just won Game 5 of the NBA Finals to go up 3 games to 2.

Crazy.

History is written by the winners, they say. And all the articles today were about how great the W’s played, how Steph Curry torched the Cavs for 17 points in the 4th quarter, and how Draymond Green roared back to life with a huge game at this crucial juncture. And all these things are true, thank goodness. But what always gets forgotten in these situations is how touch-and-go it all was.

Everything seemed to be up in the air as we crawled through miserably slow traffic in Petaluma, still two hours away from our destination with an hour till gametime. Things had not been going exactly according to plan, and for a moment I considered bolting from the vehicle and making my way to the nearest sports bar on foot. But that would have created some substantial difficulties in my personal life, so I stayed the course.
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Round 4, Game 4: Warriors 103, Cavaliers 82

Posted in Golden (State) Years on June 12th, 2015 by bill

Andre Iguodala apparently doesn't like the nickname 'Iggy,' so in recognition of his heroic Game 4 performance, I hereby swear never to call him that again.

Now the truth can be told: I was a little worried. Despite my complete confidence in Steve Kerr and the other people who get paid by Joe Lacob to think about basketball full-time, my stomach was churning as I sat in my barstool at Sidelines waiting for the game to start. And I don’t think it was just the sketchy Mexican food I had for dinner.

This pressure-cooker of the NBA Finals is really intense. And all I have to do is drink whiskey and occasionally shout something encouraging at the TV screen. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a person who actually has to play in these games.
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