Friday, June 20, 2008

cross-town classic

this weekend chicago is gearing up for the cross-town classic, battle of the #1's, the redline rivalry.... the cubs vs. the white sox

to set up this great series and rivarly, here's a little history of the 2 great major league baseball teams of chicago.

the chicago cubs: in 1876, the chicago white stockings (as they were originally known) became one of the 8 charter members of the national league. they win the inaugural national league championship with a 52-14 record. after that, they kind of sucked until 1880 when they won the NL championship again (and they do for 3 straight years). those pesky boston red stockings took away the potential 4th straight championship. they have up and down years, trying to change things up a bit by changing their name to the colts in 1894. the sole highlight of a disappointing 1897 season was a game against louisville where the colts put up 36 runs! in 1902, the chicago daily news referred to the team as the "cubs" because of all young players on the team. the young team improves and goes all the way to the world series in 1906. who do they play? their now rivel, the white sox (see below); the event seemingly put the whole city on hold for a week. the white sox take the series though. the cubs get their revenge as they take the 1907 world series, holding their opponents the detroit tigers to 3 runs combined. 1908 is the same world series show down: the cubs vs. the detroit tigers. the cubs win indeed, and become the first team to win back-to-back world series. but as we all now know (or you do as of reading this post), that was the last world series the cubs have won. legend has it, there is a curse on the cubs, placed on the team by billy sianis who was kicked out of the world series game in 1945 because of his pet goat. despite the cubs' drastically different seasons, their fans are full of optimism and wrigley field is packed each baseball season. the talk on the town is 2008 (the 100 year anniversary of the last world series win) is the year for the cubs. we shall see!

the white sox: in 1900, charles comiskey moved the st. paul saints minor league to chicago. the cubs owner, wanting to preserve the fan base of his already established team, filed suit against comiskey. after a battle, it was decide that comiskey could move his team to chicago on 2 conditions: 1) he could not use 'chicago' in the team name and 2) the team had to play south of 35th street. so the team became the white stockings (the original name of the cubs from 1876-1889) and set up camp on the south side, thus pitting northside cubs and southside sox fans against each other for the past 100+ years. during their first few years, the white sox had some hitting problems and were dubbed "the hitless wonders". but as mentioned above, the white sox did take the 1906 world series. in 1915, the white sox purchased the contract of shoeless joe jackson and along with him a few record hitting seasons. then a dark cloud settled over the sox in the 1919 season. 8 players lead by ex-underworld street brawler chick gandil and including shoeless joe attempted to throw the world series. the plot became obvious and a criminal investigation ended with the 8 players (later known as the black sox) on trial. in a bizarre turn, all confessions disappeared and the players were acquitted. however, the newly appointed baseball commissioner forever banished the 8 from the game of baseball. after some disappointing seasons, the sox renewed their enthusiasm in 1959 and earned the name "go-go" sox. the 1960s saw an intense rivalry with the new york yankees and the sox were almost sold to milwaukee. in 1984, the sox win the longest game in history: 2 days, 25 innings. in 1988, the sox were threatened to move down to florida, but the fans of chicago held "save our sox" rallies in front of the state capital. it came down to the deadline, but the funds were raised and the sox were destined to stay in chicago. in the late 90s through mid-2000s, the sox would finish 2nd or 3rd in the AL. then in 2005, the season started our normally, but the sox go all the way to the world series against the boston red sox and end up taking the series in a 3 game sweep. this was the team's first series since 1917.

between 1903 and 1997, the cubs and white sox occasionally met in a 'city series' or single charity games called the 'crosstown classic' or the 'red line series'. because these games did not count toward any team ranking in their respective leagues, they only served to provide bragging rights.

then interleague play began in 1997, and the cubs and white sox have routinuely played each other 6 times a year (1 3-game series at each ball park). in the 10 years, 60 games have been played. 30 won by the cubs, 30 won by the white sox. naturally, the heightened excitement and rivalry has led to some, shall we say, disagreement among fans and players.

this 2008 meeting will be even more intense. the cubs are #1 in the NL, the white sox are #1 in the AL.

as an impartial outsider (a southerner), i have the option of cheering for both teams. they're both talented, both full of history, both have die-hard fans, great parks (though to me, the white sox park is more like turner field in atlanta, while wrigley has the feel of an old classic stadium).

i have been to 3 white sox games, and 2 cubs games. i live on the north side. i work in the south loop. i live off the red line. if you made me choose, it would be tough, but i guess i'll have to route, route, route for the cubbies!

go cubs go!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


managerish (n): a language devised by middle-managers for the purpose of sounding more intellectual and important than they really are.

"response point-by-point via return email"
"people culture"
"anemic addressment"
"trend patterns"
"manually pattern"
"granular level"
"feature function capabilities"
"business strategy of cost optimization"
"repository for catching observations"
"team member synergies"
"manual workaround process"
"manualized processes"
"low hanging fruit"
"fully crystallized"

note: this blog will be updated as middle-managers continue to introduce me to this language
another note: to help you determine if you're working with someone speaking managerish; they love to print out 10 page documents, highlight one sentence, hand it to you, and ask you to explain the highlighted part.

Monday, June 9, 2008

band party, softball, books, ribs, and face paint

that in one sentence summed up my weekend.

i joined this group called the chicago sport and social club when i signed up to play softball and kickball for the summer. kickball is NOT as much fun as it was when you are kids. the guys try to show off and pitch the ball so fast that you either a) air kick or b) kick an easy-out pop fly in the in-field. the girls join to meet guys, so girls outnumbered guys 2-1. not that i mind girls; i joined to meet people. but the girls on my team are not competitive; 1 girl actually watched the ball as it sailed over her head... she didn't even run! our team name is 'take out the catcher'; a name cleverly devised after we won the first game by 1 point when one of the guys ran into the catcher of the other team when she wouldn't move away from the plate.

softball IS fun! it's slow pitch, so you can easily look like a dork by swinging too fast. people with skills join softball, so there are only 3 girls on my team. the weird thing is that 4 people including myself lived in alabama. the softball team name is 'there's no crying in softball', a lil tribute to a great line from 'a league of their own.' we have a good team, won all games but 1 and are in first place. i did strike out once and totally pulled a buehrle (white sox player who let a space heater have it).

anyway, long background to the start of my weekend. the chicago sport and social club puts on social events in addition to sports events. this weekend they put on a band party (yes band party) on the fake boat at the north avenue beach. the band was a really rad 80's cover band, sixteen candles. it was a beautiful night, breezy and in the 70's.

the next morning, margaret and i got up bright and early to be at the softball fields for a 9am game. unfortunately, not enough players for the other team showed up so they had to forfeit. but we wanted to play! so we gave them 2 of our players and played a 9 on 8 game. we creamed 'em. afterwards, most of the team went out for unlimited brunch and $1 mimosas at this place in lincoln park.

i decided to skip kickball and take margaret to one of my favorite places in the city: printer's row. we took the 'L' there; i think she's getting used to it. there was a huge book fair this weekend, and all these booths were set up selling rare and used books, magazines, maps, and a few VHS tapes. i didn't get any. it was very crowded this past weekend, but normally, the place is quiet and there is a nice square with benches and a fountain where you can sit in peace and think for hours (if of course, that is what you wanted to do for hours).

ok, by this time we were hungry. so we headed up north to the lincoln, damen, irving park intersection (one of those crazy 6 way intersections i still haven't quite figured out) for ribfest chicago. yes my friends, a street of meat. and fried candy bars, root beer, regular beer, watermelon, and hummus (that's not normally included i don't think). i don't think the participating food vendors had to submit portfolios of meat before joining the ribfest line-up. we learned quickly that if there's no one standing in line for the food, it's probably not that good. we did try some awesome root beer and key lime pie. whenever chicago does a festival, there's always at least 2 stages with band line-ups. i only paid attention to one band, skybox, and i quite liked them.

ribfest, complete with tornado watch, ended in early evening (well that's when we left). i thought i would be up for dinner or drinks at the top of the john hancock building, but i passed out. it was a good day.

sunday was another early day. in order to get involved with this new church i'm trying out, i volunteered to help with this kids carnival they put on in wicker park. i signed margaret and myself up to run the face painting table. we were a huge success! non-stop face painting from 9:30am-12:30pm. margaret made a little girl cry when she realized she was not getting a pink unicorn but instead a pink blob with a purple line sticking out the top. kids have crazy imaginations; i got asked to paint a red bear, a submarine, a white horse with purple spots, a leopard (really?), and one girl asked me to write "killer" on her arm. i didn't question, just painted. we were supposed to paint until 3pm, but i guess the rain wasn't done unleashing its fury on chicago and we got completely drenched. another good day though.

having margaret in town is a lot of fun. we realized we must be on the same brainwave occasionally because we say the exact same thing at the exact same time often. it's fun.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

a day in the life at the new job

get to work at 8am (with 1 coffee in hand)

review data analysis portion of new project, defining fields, objectives, scope, identifying contacts and setting up meetings 8:30am-4:30pm

determine that you are looking at the wrong information and your day was pretty much a waste of time 4:30pm

this has happened to me more than once! arg.

the new job is getting better though. i have a new rowmate who is talkative and has a nice laugh. we have also had 2 other new people start this week which meant their assigned 'buddies' brought in donuts, cookies, cinnamon rolls from anne sathers (yum!). this department likes to eat!