Despite last week’s computer disaster I am still leaving today to go to Orlando for a very short visit. The actual reason is park related business but I managed to coincide the business part with the NCN convention so I could pop in and see some good friends. I’ll take some pictures and post them tomorrow, but since it’s so early in the week there will not be much art up on the walls. I’ll be having dinner with two of my favorite people, talented caricaturist and cartoonist Keelan Parham and his lovely wife Barbie. Should be fun and I could use the breather. I was able to make it simply because the Nader job got extended into late this week.
Speaking of the computer disaster, my main hard drive from the crashed PC is officially toast. It was a mechanical failure (ball bearings went bad), so the data on it is unrecoverable. There is nothing on it that cannot be reconstructed from hard copies, but it will take a few days of click clacking on the keyboard. Windows had nothing to do with the hard drive failure, so all you PC haters can just relax. Macs are just as susceptible to hard drive malfunction.
As for the Mac, I’m starting to get the hang of it and resolving the issues I had at the beginning. Nobody at Apple was able to explain to me why the firmware upgrade would not work at first, but suddenly decided to take after two reinstalls of the OS software and three identical tries with the update. I did nothing different on try number three, but it mysteriously worked that time. As far as my peripherals go, the HP printer and my Microtek scanner installed and worked very easily. I had some difficulty getting my Epson printer working, necessitating a call to Epson’s tech support (that cost me $10.00) because their installer’s instructions were useless. I turns out there were several more steps needed and finding the actual printer to install meant digging deep into a few menus… so much for plug and play. That’s Epson’s problem, not the Mac’s, however. My other issue was with my monitor, which was intermittently going haywire with weird colors, lines of distortion and flickering. This is a 30″ Apple Cinema Display. I tried a few things and have decided that the DVI extension cable I was using in order to have the monitor placed where I want it (about 3 feet farther than the cord reaches) cannot handle the high resolution of the display. If I plug the monitor directly into the Mac the problems are gone. So, I went searching for an extension cable that would support the resolution… I found one. It’s specially made for the 30″ Apple cinema, and extends not only the DVI but the USB and Firewire as well. Sounds great except for the $309.00 price tag. $309.00????? Shipping not included. Sheesh. I guess they figure if you can plunk down two grand for a monitor you shouldn’t balk at a few hundred for a bundle of wires wrapped in rubber.
Since this is a hodge-podge blog post about nothing in particular, I have to take a second to congratulate the Minnesota Twins for pulling off the mother of all comebacks and winning the American League Central Division title in dramatic fashion yesterday, the last day of the regular baseball season. Baseball is one of the weirdest sports, where it’s customary to fail a majority of the time and the teams that win are the ones that fail a little less that the other guys. The Twins beat all odds, overcoming a horrific start to the season, devastating injuries, and a number of failed offseason moves to win the AL Central. After starting 9-16 and struggling against even mediocre teams, and after a horrible west coast trip in early June where they lost every series, they revamped the lineup sending aging and punchless shortstop Juan Castro, washed up third baseman Tony Bautista and even more washed up DH Reuben Sierra packing. They called up shortstop Jason Bartlett, put utility player Nick Punto in at third and bought up outfielder Jason Tyner and pitchers Boof (yes, BOOF) Bonser and Matt Garza to fill rotation spots left open by injuries to veteran Brad Radke and phenom Fransisco Liriano. The infusion of youth, speed and energy was just the spark the team needed. Coupled with the emergence of first baseman Justin Morneau in both defense and especially offense, a late season hitting surge by center fielder Torii Hunter and an what turned out to be an AL batting championship season by catcher Joe Mauer, the Twins got just enough pitching from starters not named Johan Santana to let the best bullpen in baseball decide most games. They deserved the title and congratulations again to them. Also a big thanks to the Detroit Tigers for a choke job for the ages, the Kansas City Royals for being dumb enough not to realize they have no business winning baseball games against playoff teams, and to the Chicago White Sox for remembering this year that they are the Chicago White Sox and historically world class underachievers.
I have been a big fan for many years, and have been lucky to do a lot of artwork for both their magazine and for promotions which has earned me season tickets every year. I love taking my kids to the games. Baseball is the last major sport in the county not to be ruined by selfish, spoiled athletes who think they are bigger than the game. Whether they like it or not, these players are role models for young kids. Athletes like Terrell Owen and Randy Moss are an embarrassment, and it’s sad when people like that are who kids look up to. Basketball players can be just as bad. I know there are players in both sports who are good people and good role models, but do their jersey’s sell? I also know that there are a few bad seeds in baseball (Barry Bonds, for example… not just for the obvious cheating but more for being a giant asshole). Baseball players in general are less apt to be primadonnas. Why? I think it’s because they had to work their way into the big leagues and the big paychecks. When you spend 4 or 5 years toiling in the minors, dragging your equipment yourself and riding in buses overnight for road games I think you appreciate success a little more. Most of the pro football and basketball players were treated like princes from high school on, and college programs in those sports are big money and media saturated events. College baseball is not, and many if not most pro baseball players go right from high school to the minor leagues. They earn a pittance compared to big time pro sports players, and there is no huge signing bonus or big media fanfare or multi-million dollar holdouts in baseball. I think the cult of celebrity has less hold in baseball, and that keeps players much more grounded.
This is going to be a busy week with this short trip to Orlando, jobs for Scholastic and the Nader museum due, the opening of the Cartoon Art Show at MCAD in Minneapolis and the NCS North Central Chapter’s annual meeting here in town that I am helping organize. That last one includes a day at the Minnesota FallCon comic book convention, a speaking engagement at MCAD on Saturday night and a chapter brunch at my place on Sunday. Plus, I have a few playoff games I need to get to. You have to have you priorities straight… Go Twins!
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