Josh Heit's blog

     

Saturday, December 06, 2003

 
When you're wrong...: You are wrong! AU 65, UNCG 45. Not the close game I imagined. AU was shooting very well, and Andres "A-Rod" Rodriguez and Jason "JT" Thomas had excellent games. Now comes the winter break road trip of doom @Howard on Monday, @St. Francis (PA) on 12/18, @Notre Dame on 12/21, then three games in Hawaii in three days, starting with Pepperdine on the 28th. 6 games, and if AU goes 3-3, it's a success. First things first, Howard on Monday. Howard lost by Radford by 1 today at home. AU beat Radford by 14 on the road. But they can't take it easy. Gotta get that win.

Correction. Elon and UNC Greensboro are in the Southern Conference, not the Big South.

And finally, the blogroll's finally been updated: Added are Mickey Kaus, Daniel Drezner, Josh Marshall, and the AUCR Blog
Changed are Amish Tech Support (nee Laurence Simon), and The Agitator (nee Radley Balko). The changes signify one man blogs going to group format.

And finally, a sad farewell to the following blogs. Some are out of commission, or I just don't read them anymore.

Ben Wetmore (who is at the AUCR blog)
Cold Fury
Josh Kraushaar (at the AUCR blog)
Emperor Misha I, aka The Anti Idiotarian Rottweiler
Moore Watch
Phil Kahn (at the AUCR blog)
Rachel Lucas (who asked to be taken off blogrolls. Once she starts ranting again, she'll be back.)
Jared M. at The Politiblog

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Now this is quality: Oh yeah.

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Reality Roundup: First things first. I refuse to watch The Simple Life. I've missed all but the first half hour of Average Joe (It took her this long to kick off Zach? I wanted to see him gone in the first ten minutes).

Joe Millionaire 2: Shudder. It didn't sound like a bad idea. Annoying, dumb European women and another dumb, clueless Joe. And yet the execution could NOT have been worse. David was dumber than Evan (hard to do, I know). At least he was kind of endearing doing it. The freaking horse was the best character (or maybe that's just the version of Hurricane in the TwoP recaps. And the ending couldn't have been more telegraphed if they had tried. But more on that later.

But let's talk about the blatant bait-and-switch. This angered me more than anything. First, Linda wimps out from the pressure of the other girls and asks to go home. David, who clearly loves her, obliges anyway. Weak on both their parts, but fine, you lose. But....NOOOOOOOOO. Producers have to go and blatantly say that David can bring someone back, which will OBVIOUSLY be Linda. What a horrible twisting of the rules. I actually kind of liked Linda, and not just because she was the odds-on favorite from about ten minutes in. She was the only one who seemed kind of decent. But because of her own stupidity ("I want to go home") plus what amount to rigging the game on the part of the editors, I really can't.

Now let's talk about editors telegraphing the ending. Now, I missed significant portions of this show (which is probably a good thing, considering the suckitude), but when I caught a little bit, it was kind of obvious by the editing who was going far. Surprise me a little bit, editors! (See: Season 1, overexposure of MoJo, only to have finish fourth). I mean, it might be that I've become overly accustomed to picking up editing trends and tricks, but I think it might be that the editors just sucked. You may not remember that I picked Evan to take Zora on January 28th for a February 17th finale. Not bad, and I wasn't always so sure.

After doing a quick Google search, my hunch isn't so sure. And I've searched TwoP for about 20 minutes, so I'm just going to present in to the readers. In the opening sequence, one woman says something to the effect of "My last name means poor, but I'm sure it won't be like that anymore." I felt this was a sure editing tell, and I was pretty sure (from memory) that this was Linda. However, the few places that have this quote say Karolina. Can someone confirm? Preferably with tape evidence? Regardless, there were enough editing clues (and just regular interaction that editing really couldn't hide) that pointed to a Linda over Cat ending.

On to Survivor: Pearl Islands. Without the burden of spoiling and knowing what will happen, this season has actually been kinda fun! Enough goofy characters to laugh at, and enough idiots to yell at. The outcast twist was certainly interesting, but I'm kind of surprised that everyone's ignored this fact in jury calculation. Sandra thinks that everyone loves Lill, and so would lose to her. She's an outcast! Point out that it's not fair that someone who lost wins the whole thing, and you've got a shot! Of course, Sandra's been playing the entire game with her head up her ass, so I'm shocked she's still in the final five. I really wanted her to go instead of Christa, who had her Neleh relevation on Day 31. (For those unfamiliar, Neleh didn't "start playing the game" until the overturn of the Rotu 4, in Marquesas Episode 8, Day 23. Constantly mentioning this in the final 2 probably cost her the game. Oh wait, no that's because John was an egotistical ass who Neleh wouldn't apologize to for his ouster. Ugh. What a horrible season. Unlikable people, a disgusting final 2, a UTR winner that the audience STILL doesn't know how she won, and idiocy all around. And that awful, awful reunion hosted by Rosie O'Donnell. Shudder. Africa was a better season than Marquesas. Thailand might have been. This one definitely is. People who put S4 over S1 and S2 are clearly delusional. Yikes...that was a digression.)

So now we're left with Burton, Lill, Jon, Darrah, and Sandra. The previews are promising a Lill-Darrah-Sandra alliance, which I highly doubt because they're hyping it. Lill seems to be getting a clue, and Darrah of all people is making an immunity run (not that it's unprecedented, see also: Kelly Wiglesworth, S1. Of course, if you're going to have an immunity challenge with firearms, I'll take the Tennessean over a couple of Californians, a Washingtonian (state), and an Ohioan. And Jon, who's technically from the South (NC), but the odds of him winning an immunity challenge are pretty moot. (As Sandra said in one her few amusing moments, "Jon's like a girl" in immunity challenges.) Yes, it's a stereotype (the South and guns, not Jon like a girl), but hey, it worked!

So right now, Jon seems to have control. He hasn't yet been busted by the constant lying (see also: Brandon Quinton, S3, when Samburu took a ridiculously dumb move by Lex and Boran to bring a 6-4 Boran lead to 4-4, with previous votes in SAMBURU'S FAVOR, and booted Brandon 6-2, and were promptly picked off 1 by 1 by Boran. Yes, Africa was also one dumb move after another, but at least the people were likable and entertaining. I stand by my earlier point. Because when it comes down to it, most of the middle-game is determined by dumb moves by one group or another. In Survivor 1, it was the lack of thinking about alliances, and Sean K.'s alphabet strategy -- except for Ramona and Dirk, who were gone pre-merge, every Pagong was in alphabetical order before every Tagi. In Survivor 2, it was Kimmi blabbing about Jeff V.'s vote and Jeff jumping off in the immunity challenge. S3: The Older Samburu Alliance screwing over the younger at the twist, followed by Boran giving the lead back, including Brandon's odd switch to Boran after Kelly's switch to Samburu, and then the booting of Brandon. Winning tribes screw up, too: Okagor takes out Kel before Maralyn or Mitchell -- if Jerri had gotten her way, it would have Keith instead of Maralyn, too -- but recovers to tie and takes it from there. S4, Maraamu might have been the dumbest, losingest tribe in history -- Morgan was close, but it's still Maraamu -- and one of their members, Vecepia, won! Can we end this disgression? I forgot where I was in THIS season). I still feel as though the Burton-Lill outcast thing will come into play at the final vote. The only way it won't is if they're both there. Burton's best play is to secure a top 2 promise from both of them and throw the final immunity, a la Hatch. I think Burton and Jon can both beat Lill, with the right final 2 answers. It's an interesting endgame.

For the record, I'm rooting for Darrah. Yes, she's been UTR, yes, she's the last of her tribe, but, dang it, she's actually kind of likable. And cute. (Yes, that counts.) Burton's played the game well in the outcast role, and while Jon's annoying, he's aware that it's a game (Any reality show contestant who says the word "integrity" immediately earns my ire). Lill's been a sheep, and Sandra's absolutely clueless. If I do more Survivor posting, I'll try to do a jury analysis next week.

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Gao Zhan update: The Eagle a had a quality article on the Gao Zhan affair. This includes a timeline, which makes the situation a bit less confusing. It's probably the most in-depth article I've seen on the issue. And to correct what I previously said, she's no longer with the university. The article also includes the only official university statement I've seen on the affair (probably because Gao Zhan is no longer with AU, although I doubt they'd want to publicize this in any case).

BenLadner.com is also following recent developments.

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Let's try a new tack:

I've got a lot to blog about, but I think it's best if I split it into coherent parts. This is the randomness section.

Congrats to AU Volleyball on a tough season. They lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Maryland, 30-24, 30-25, 30-28. AU had a decent-sized road crowd. Photo essay to come if I feel like putting the effort in.

AU Hoops takes on UNC-Greensboro to try to grab a winning record versus the Big South (W@Radford, L@Elon). According to Sagarin, AU should win in a close one (Greensboro 73.70, AU 71.99, 4.22 homecourt advantage). Of course, the accuracy of Sagarin is a little sketchy this point of the season., but I'm hoping they'll pick up win #2 tonight.

In other AU announcements, the AU Players are presenting the Eight Reindeer Monologues tonight at midnight. I'll be there. This is probably one of the funniest shows I've ever seen.

Yankee fans, look at this chart. Cringe.

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Monday, December 01, 2003

 
Random thoughts, again:

Ho Ho Holy Shit is back! And the Amish Tech Support Deadpool is gearing up for 2004. And yes, my 2003 roster has a big fat zero as of today. Yeesh.

Great article here on Calvin and Hobbes's Bill Watterson. See also here, the Calvin and Hobbes Resurrection site.

Blogroll updating is forthcoming, but check what's there now anyway.

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Thursday, November 27, 2003

 
I normally wouldn't blog on Thanksgiving, but......sometimes stories pop into the news that just throw off your whole paradigm, and you're so close to the action that you kinda need to.

This qualifies. Gao Zhan, a researcher at good old AU, was arrested for selling high-tech equipment to the Chinese. This was the same Gao Zhan whose release was heralded by AU, and even got university president Ben Ladner to come on campus for a ceremony honoring her return. It's quite ironic, I think. I mean, really, whose side is she on?

Just doing a quick search in the AU database for Gao Zhan, I get...

AU WCL's Human Rights Center calls for Gao Zhan's release in April of '01.

A conference report with Gao Zhan attacking China's human rights record.

Another take on Gao Zhan telling her story, I believe this one's closer to her release.

Gao Zhan's statement upon release.

Thinking about it...was she selling equipment to the Chinese in the 90's and then changed her tune after her detention? Did China think that her selling of equipment was a cover for her business? Is that why she was in China in the first place when she was detained?

It's a sticky wicket. No official word's come out of the university. BenLadner.com just has a blurb.

As they would say...Developing...

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Friday, November 21, 2003

 
Randomness!: You know, posting more than once a week should probably happen. At this point, I'm not as bad as Rachel Lucas, but worse than the Mad Ponies, except that when they do post, they're entirely more interesting (This is why they have web traffic!).

For the record, I believe the below post is death on statistics. I'm not 100% sure. When I'm done with this Social Science stats class, I'll be more sure. Baseball bloggers, if want any hope of doing interesting analysis, take a stats course. (Yes, this means you.)

The AUCR's are promoting their new blog on the Today@AU webserver. It's a nice blog. I'd join, except that I don't feel like being overtly political, plus I already have this thing to tend to (or not tend to...). I have been thinking about group blogging, if I could grab a bunch of the best and brightest, or at the very least, the goofiest, AU students, and move onto a domain of the non-Blogspot variety. This feeling is exacerbated by the fact that blogging will be even less for me next semester, since I'll be in Australia (have I mentioned that yet)?

In cartoon news, Family Guy may be returning to FOX. Even though I don't catch it on Cartoon Network all that often, it's still hilarious, and I try to join the DVD watching parties whenever possible. In other good news, The Critic on DVD! This one I catch whenever possible, which is usually in its Sunday night Comedy Central timeslot, when I'm home (in New Jersey).

Ben Domenech links to an article in the WaPo on PG-13 movies. Rather interesting, and from having worked in a movie theatre, essentially true.

Blogging's probably shot until Tuesday, and I may try to do some blogroll purging over the Thanksgiving weekend (among other things). I promise an end-of-semester wrap-up in December, although I haven't lived up to that many blog promises in the past (I still owe three book reviews from AUGUST).

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Friday, November 14, 2003

 
Back! With Baseball blogging!: David Pinto has been experimenting with a probabilistic model of range (scroll down to the September 19th entry, and read upwards). In his most recent post, he lists all pitchers with more than 200 balls in play (BIP) and lists them by Expected Defensive Efficiency Rating (DER – see here for an explanation of DER, you need to scroll to the bottom.) WARNING: The next few paragraphs are heavy in statistics.

First things first. 109 pitchers have a negative DER Difference and 121 have a positive DER Difference, so we’re dealing with a sample of 230 pitchers. (Mean: .000557, Standard Deviation: .016902) Let’s define an outlier as two standard deviations outside the mean (95% confidence rate). The range we’re now looking at is then: less than -.033247 and greater than .034361. We’re sitting on eight outliers, then, four negative and four positive. (Two of the negatives barely eek outside of the 2 standard deviation limit, but for the standards of completeness, I’m including them.)

Let’s look at the positives first, those whose Actual Outs exceeded Expected Outs. They are: Rheal Cormier (DER Difference .03737), Paul Quantrill (.04219), Felix Heredia (.04822), and Octavio Dotel (.06265). All relievers. An expected out range of 144.2 (Dotel) to 191.8 (Heredia). As far as I can tell, there’s no discernible correlation between Expected Outs and DER Difference. I’m going to chalk it up partly to good defense and partly to pure chance. (I know I shouldn’t do that, but I can’t think of a real reason for these guys to have such good defense behind them, specifically).

Now let’s look at the positives, starting with the two marginals. More relievers, in the personages of Antonio Alfonseca (-.03337) and Tim Worrell (-.03454). Worrell’s appearance here surprises me, because he pitched well all season, apparently despite his bad defense. And now for the two larger outliers: Aaron Heilman (-.04166) and Jeff Weaver (-.05102). Usually Weaver’s the posterboy for pitchers getting hurt by his defense, in terms of DIPS analysis (although in Baseball Crank’s July analysis, Glendon Rusch showed up as the posterboy, and he’s only sitting at -.02054, good for 28th worst. How much of that is due to second half starts not included in Crank’s data, I don’t know). To emphasize Weaver’s performance (since he’s the only outlier over 300 innings), his Expected Outs – Actual Outs = 29 Outs. The next close on the negative side is Andy Pettitte (-.02294) with 14.8 outs lost, on the other side of the ledger, Jason Schmidt (.02841) gained 15.5 outs from his defense according to this model.

While Weaver’s appearance on the list is interesting, Heilman’s is much more shocking. The conventional wisdom is that he sucks and needs to go back to AAA. However, he did lose 8.6 outs (137 expected) to his defense (I’d probably blame, in order: Roger Cedeno, Robbie Alomar, and Joe McEwing. The Mets do keep showing up near the bottom of David’s studies, if you look at some of the other data sets). He may have just suffered a string of bad defense.

Next, I’m probably going to take my data set and arrange it by team, to see if there are any trends there.

Bye for now.

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Sunday, November 09, 2003

 
Links, kinda:

I apologize for the utter lack of content. Mid-semester stress. I really think that for many people, group blogging's where it's at. This way, not everyone has to be super-active at you still get a ton of content.

Speaking of, The AU Republicans have a blog. Nice of y'all not to link me. One of you has to know this thing exist. I probably won't be migrating over there, simply because I like to keep a wider range of issues (sports, AU events, random links), and because I'm brain-dead about now.

In non group blogs, why am I not linking Dan Drezner? Just keep scrolling. Warning: unhealthy Salma Hayek obsession.

If I don't produce anything resembling coherent context for a little while, just satisfy yourselves with the blogroll, or if you like, the ardhives.

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