Saving more time
This weekend marked the annual tradition of “falling back” to end daylight savings, the biannual ritual of trying to remember how to change every clock in your house. The notion seems fairly antiquated these days, since it was first implemented during World War I to save energy, and these days, we really don’t care if the sun is out or not to burn energy. So I guess I was a little surprised to see a new law taking place next year to extend daylight savings from early March to late November.
First of all, is this necessary? As I said, I don’t think we will notice that much difference in one hour of light, especially that early in the year. I guess my biggest concern (well, a pet peeve really), is that we will spend most of the year on daylight time. This begs the question: shouldn’t that become standard time, and we should come up with a new name for the few months we’re on what used to be standard time? It just seems this whole notion is a joke.
But my favorite has to be Indiana’s interaction with daylight savings time. For a long time, the Hoosier State didn’t observe daylight savings time, moving back and forth between the eastern and central time zones. When trying to call grandparents in Indiana, this became a hassle trying to remember if they were the same time as us. Recently, the state voted to observe DST, but left it to the individual counties to decide which time zone to join. Now, most of the state is on eastern time, but several counties near Chicago and Lexington observe central. So much for reducing the confusion.
So I hope everyone enjoyed the extra hour of sleep this morning, the last instance of the six-month version of daylight savings time. No one but a nation of clock-watchers would care so much about something intangible as this.
Back from the Red Stick
Over the weekend, I went on a short vacation to visit some friends in Baton Rouge and Houston. Of course, I saw this as an opportunity to add to my capitol total for Assignment: America, and decided to cross off Louisiana and Mississippi in the process. Here are some highlights from the trip, aside from the blurb you would find on the site (although they haven’t been written yet, all the pictures are up).
I flew down to Baton Rouge on last Wednesday after work, since it was cheaper to rent a car there as opposed to New Orleans. Due to severe weather in the area, our flight from Metro to Memphis was delayed about an hour. I sat next to a woman on that flight who had a connection in Memphis like myself, but she wasn’t taking the delay very well. I’m not exaggerating when I say she was hysterical: asking the flight attendants for updates on when we would land, constantly ringing her hands and crying off and on the entire time. When someone asked her why she was in such a hurry, she refused to elaborate, saying she had something important in Panama City, Fla.
I assume she hadn’t flown very often, since delays like this are probably more common that the flight arriving on time. If an entire flight is going to be late into a hub like Memphis, they try to hold the connections within a reasonable time window. And since she didn’t say what was so important, I was annoyed, since she was suggesting that she being delayed was more significant than the rest of us. If she had said it was a funeral or something, I would have been more compassionate, but I did my best to ignore her. I felt if I got involved, she would expect me to help her find her gate when I was in a crunch to make my flight as well. Thankfully, the guy in the row in front of us offered to call the hotline when we landed and work out the logistics of her connection. Anyway, it turns out the connection to Baton Rouge was delayed as well, due to a missing crew member. I barely made it to the rental car counter before it closed.
I had a really great time at the LSU game. I had never seen a football game outside of the Big Ten, so to see an SEC game in one of the loudest stadiums in the country was awesome. Despite being against an inferior opponent and not even a full house, the place was as loud as any place I’ve ever heard. Although it was interesting to see that a considerable portion of the crowd left before halftime, even though the score was only 28-0. Night games are also something special, and I wish Lloyd Carr would get over his illogical fear of them and try to schedule at least one per year.
Mississippi was fairly uneventful, and I probably spent about three hours total inside the state’s borders. I was disappointed that I didn’t see on Chik-Fil-A off I-55, since I wanted to eat at one of the south’s great institutions. I did get to see another, and I took a picture of a Piggly Wiggly grocery store. For some reason, seeing that goofy name and the pig mascot cracks me up.
On a more serious note, I did make a sidetrip down to New Orleans to see how the city was doing. I went as the Saints were playing a home game, so I hoped the city wasn’t really this deserted, but I’m afraid that was how it is all the time. I decided to head down to the French Quarter, since I heard that was one of the few places that was back on its feet. However, to reach it from I-10, I drove through a community that obviously still had a long way to go. The streets were still filled with debris and large dumpsters were along most the sidewalks. The houses seemed to be intact, yet several still had the plywood over the windows. The French Quarter did show signs of life, with many people walking around and the difficulty finding a parking spot. I drove down Bourbon Street and most of the shops were open, but a few remained closed. It was amazing to see such a stark contrast in neighborhoods that were only a few blocks apart. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Mississippi gulf coast towns of Biloxi and Gulfport were hit harder than New Orleans, and shouldn’t be neglected as the entire region continues to rebuild.
Overall, it was a fun weekend with friends, and it was more relaxed for me, since I wasn’t doing my normal pace of driving over 500 miles per day. Oh yeah, and seeing the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge was a disappointment, since it looked like every other river I’ve seen.
2006 Sharks preview
And so begins another season in NHL 2.0. This should be a great year for the Sharks, building off last year that saw their roster boast the league MVP and leading goal-scorer. The national hype seems to be high on the Sharks right now, with SI picking them to finish second in the west behind Anaheim. While that’s well and good, I’d like to see San Jose advance to its first Stanley Cup finals in franchise history.This season has nearly the same core of players coming back, with only minor additions and subtractions. The biggest concern I see is San Jose has two starting goaltenders on its roster, which could lead to some chemistry issues down the road. I would like to see Doug Wilson move one of them for a defenseman, but I don’t think that will happen. Ron Wilson seems to think that they have some young talent on the blueline (like Matt Carle) and having depth at goalie is a good thing. But I see it like trying to start a different QB every week; there just won’t be any continuity among the players.With expectations so high, I decided it was time to become a more involved fan. It’s hard to follow your favorite team when it isn’t in your market, so I’ve kept up to date with the Sharks through their web site and reading articles from the Mercury News online. But now that I’m in control of my finances, I signed up for the NHL cable package this season. After catching a few games during the free preview last week, it was great to see them playing someone other than the Red Wings and listening to Randy Hahn as opposed to Mickey Redmond. Unfortunately, the home games still start at 10:30 PM EDT, which means they typically end around 1:30 AM. I apologize in advance to my co-workers for being a grouch for the first few months, so hopefully they win and keep me in good spirits in those early mornings.
Brian knows baseball
OK, not really, but I did win my fantasy baseball league over the weekend. The Ann Arbor Airedales (an homage to Tony Kornheiser) finished the season with 60 of a possible 80 points in the rotisserie league. I started the season in first and fell into a slump around the all-star break, and didn't start to come out until about three weeks ago. Thanks to a couple of pickups down the stretch, I managed to win by a mere 1.5 points, mostly on the back of my pitching. My worst category was team batting average, second worst in the league (.286) , yet I only won two catgories: home runs and WHIP.The reason I'm sharing this is baseball is probably my least favorite of the four major sports and therefore I know the least about it. I did next to no preparation for the draft back in April, and my knowledge was based on trends from about five years ago. So, either I'm a shrewd fantasy player, or just a lucky dullard (probably a little of both, but more than likely the latter).
Image: Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good