Welcome! (I guess...)

For those of you who by some extremely unlikely set of circumstances happened to stumble upon this page, I apologize to you. For those of you who intentionally came to this page - yikes! As the title of the weblog indicates, these are my Ramblings About Whatever. There is a chance that I will ramble about just about anything (as I am in this introduction), but only a select few topics will actually make this site. Enjoy! (I guess...)

Monday, September 29, 2008

9/28/08 Weekend of College Football Chaos

As is the case during many autumn weekends, I spent quite a bit of time (perhaps too much) watching college football this weekend. And of course this enabled me to witness the various losses among the top ten teams, many of which lost to unranked opponents. What started innocently enough with top ranked Southern Cal's "shocking" loss at Oregon State on Thursday turned into a tidal wave with 4rd ranked Florida's loss at home to unranked Ole Miss, 9th ranked Wisconsin's loss at unranked Michigan, and 3rd ranked Georgia's loss at home to 8th ranked Alabama. (Okay, so Georgia's opponent clearly was not unranked, but the way in which events in this game transpired makes it worthy of inclusion in discussion about this chaotic weekend.)

The Florida-Ole Miss game was tight for the most part and as a result, it did not produce quite the level of shock for me as the other games did, other than the fact that Ole Miss was able to pull out the victory. The other three games produced far greater shocks in that Southern Cal was down 21-0 at halftime, Wisconsin was ahead 19-0 at halftime, and Georgia was down 31-0 at halftime!

It was not necessarily surpising that Southern Cal was able to rally and make a game out of it with Oregon State. I felt that if they could have ever tied the game in the fourth quarter then they would have won, but Oregon State's defense came up big at the most crucial points of the game. And watching that game on Thursday night, I thought that the result should completely doom Southern Cal's (national) championship aspirations - and I still do (more on this later) - but then a whole bunch of other craziness ended up happening once Saturday rolled around.

It was likewise not too, too surprising that Georgia was able to rally to create the semblance of an illusion that they were actually sort of in the game with Alabama at any point. After all, Georgia did start the year ranked number one. Now granted, I never understood why Georgia started at number one, and thus I actually expected Alabama to win. However, I did not expect Alabama to lead 31-0. Now sure, if Georgia runs the table (which would necessarily mean that they win the SEC Championship) they instantly put themselves in the conversation for the national title, but the Georgia team that I saw play on Saturday would seem to me to have little chance of beating Alabama in a potential rematch, and I cannot even envision them going through the rest of the regular season without another loss.

What can I say about Wisconsin? I suppose the only statistic that I can point to that would indicate that their collapse was not a surprise would be the fact that Wisconsin has not won at Michigan since 1994. Otherwise there is no way to paint this game as anything other than a colossal choke. Michigan has looked awful this season, and they looked awful in the first half of the game against Wisconsin, turning the ball over five times in the first thirty minutes. However, Wisconsin was only able to produce four field goals and a lone touchdown before intermission. This loss should absolutely doom Wisconsin's national title hopes. After the last two showings in the BCS Championship by Ohio State, Big Ten schools were essentially playing with zero margin for error. As a result, it essentially does not matter if Wisconsin runs the table; they will not beat out a one-loss SEC or one-loss Big 12 school should it come down to such a selection. And they certainly would not beat out a one-loss Southern Cal team.

This all brings us back to Southern Cal. (See, I told you that I would come back to this later.) Southern Cal should be done. The pollsters should have punished them far more than dropping them to nine (on the AP poll - I don't use the Coaches' Poll, it's a total sham). Southern Cal is buoyed by a perceived superiority in athletic talent (which they could well have) and on the strength of convincing early season victories over a very bad Virginia team and an overrated Ohio State team. (Let's face it, even with Chris Wells in the lineup against Southern Cal, Ohio State still gets beat badly in my opinion.) The conventional wisdom prior to last weekend's games was that (a) Southern Cal was the best team in the country and (b) there was the chance that an undefeated SEC or Big 12 team could be left out of the BCS Championship because it was unlikely that either would jump an undefeated Southern Cal team playing in a weaker Pac 10 conference.

This is precisely the reason (now) that Southern Cal should be out of the BCS title conversation. To me, this retarded system in which the contenders for the championship are selected subjectively by human beings has almost no merit whatsoever. And the only time it truly has any merit is when teams being considered are undefeated. It's simple; when teams go undefeated, they have done everything they could possibly do to be in the championship conversation. When teams have one-loss, they have not done everything possible. If all teams (or at most all but one) have lost, and the schedules of the teams in question all can be considered legitimate, then I think it is completely useless to discuss which team a person thinks would win in a hypothetical matchup. For example, a Trojan fan might say today, I totally think Southern Cal would beat Georgia. My response would be, Really? Did you totally think that they would beat Oregon State, too? You see, in absence of a credible argument to support your beliefs about the hypothetical outcome of a college football game, I'm afraid you have to select a team that tallied a more robust list of victories. And I'm afraid that there is no way that a one-loss Southern Cal team can trump either a one-loss SEC Champion or one-loss Big 12 Champion (should this scenario occur) in this department no matter what the identity of those teams might be.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Heroes: Season 3 Premiere

Okay, I was as excited as ever about the premiere of the third season of Heroes - truly a great show. I watched the red carpet countdown special and barely left my sofa for the entire three hours that the premiere event lasted. And in case you have yet to see the episodes and plan to do so, I plan to say exactly what happened during the show's first two hours of this season. Yes, that means that there will be "spoilers." Does this anger you?

Now about the very beginning of the first episode, I was absolutely stunned that a future version of Peter Petrelli was indeed the mystery shooter of his brother Nathan Petrelli. I never would have seen that coming. There were some other interesting developments in the episode that I might discuss in greater detail later on (e.g., Sylar being Angela Petrelli's son and Mohinder being a veritable retard), but I must first address a troubling aspect of the storyline. This aspect is future Peter's attempts to change the past.

These attempts by future Peter are no different than the attempts by future Hiro in the first season to change the past and thereby change the future (all the way down to the use of the different colored strings to represent the lifelines of important characters). A certain phenomenon was hinted at by future Hiro when he encountered Peter in the subway car in the first season, and it was more strongly alluded to in the second episode of this third season (heck, it was even the title of the second episode), and this is known as the butterfly effect. Now I do not want to discuss whether the show used the idea properly (because it did not), but rather I want to discuss the more problematic nature of the show, the notion of causality.

In season one and season three, respectively, future versions of Hiro and Peter believe that they can go back into the past to alter events in order to prevent their own dystopic presents from coming to be. The problem with such attempts is that by each character going back in the past and altering events to prevent their own presents from coming to such disastrous ends, they would necessarily destroy their own causal loops.

Allow me to explain Peter's case. In the present day (or the just recently expired past), Nathan Petrelli is preparing to deliver a speech in which he reveals to world that there are superpowered individuals. This speech is a seminal event that sets in motion the other events that show a future Claire on the verge of shooting Peter. (For the life of me, I cannot understand why she thought that this would work in killing him, given the whole regeneration/immortality thing.) Peter swears that he can go back in time to "fix it," and he stops time just as Claire fires the gun, takes the gun from his frozen niece, and disappears. He finally uses this gun to shoot Nathan.

The problem with this attempt by Peter is that this Peter Petrelli cannot kill Nathan. In fact, it is probable that this Peter cannot even shoot Nathan. It all comes down to causality. There are several events that transpired in the past of the would-be fratricidal Peter that led him to believe that he had to go back in the past to prevent his brother from getting the ball rolling. However, if Peter succeeds in shooting or killing Nathan, he changes the chain of events that ultimately caused him to develop as he did and believe that he had to go back in the past to alter events. If Nathan dies or decides not to reveal the secret of the heroes to world, then Peter will have no reason to travel back into the past to stop Nathan from revealing the secret. In such a case, Nathan would reveal the secret, and Peter would travel back in time to prevent Nathan from revealing the secret, and thus, set about a chain of events that would cause Peter to not have to travel in time to stop Nathan from revealing the secret. Do you see how you could continue going on with this until your head hurts? In short, the future Peter cannot kill and (probably) cannot shoot Nathan because such an act would in effect erase this future Peter from existence.

The same sort of a rationale holds for future Hiro in the first season. That future Hiro could not possibly stop the bomb from happening that blew up New York City. Doing so would in effect kill that future Hiro and prevent him from helping to stop the bomb from blowing up the city. (And the more I think about it, the more the scene in Five Years Gone from the first season where present day Hiro encounters future Hiro and future Hiro is shocked to see his younger self seems absurd. Barring a colossal bout of amnesia, if these two Hiros are truly from the same timeline, then the future Hiro would have had to remember encountering his future self when he jumped through time at that earlier age.)

These paradoxes can potentially be explained away if you allow for the possibility of multiple realities, whereby a Hiro or a Peter of one reality went back into the past of another reality and changed the course of history, but this explanation does not make a whole lot of sense either since by virtue of the fact that a single change has the ability to create a divergent reality, there should be an infinite amount of possible realities. Why would this future Peter find it so important to try to change this singular one (the one that he in truth should be most unable to alter) when he can probably find any myriad realities to relax in that have rosier outlooks?

All of this aside, this still should be an enjoyable season to watch.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Weekend of Weddings: Part 8

Part 8 in Cabral's Continuous Blog on Weekend of Weddings (with actual blogging being done during the ceremonies). See Part 7 here.

And I'm runnin' runnin' (Valerie's going to kill me), and runnin' runnin' (and I don't want Valerie to kill me) down to the beach and finally I make it to the wedding. Phew! 6:32 pm - right on time, or close enough. I slow down to walk to a seat, but then look around and realize that I cannot recognize a single person seated. That would have been perfectly fine with me, but I could not recognize either the bride or groom either.

Oh crap again!

And so I walked up to a lady who was standing some paces behind where the wedding guests were seated and indicated to her that I was on the beach for a wedding but wonder of wonders, I could not recognize a single soul sitting before me. Well, she kindly informed me that there was another wedding occurring some ways down the beach as she pointed in the direction that I needed to go.

I thanked her and kindly tipped my hat and was off runnin' again. (Okay, I did not really tip my hat since as I stated in the last post, my hair was a mess, but such was my gratitude that I actually would have tipped my hat if my hair was not a mess. However, if my hair was not a mess, I would not have been wearing a hat in the first place. I have come to a bit of a paradox, I'm afraid. Let's see, I would tip my hat if my hair was not a mess, but I would not be wearing the hat to tip if my hair was not a mess... How do I reason my way through this one? Wait, there's no time! I have to keep running!)

Weekend of Weddings: Part 7

Part 7 in Cabral's Continuous Blog on Weekend of Weddings (with actual blogging being done during the ceremonies). See Part 6 here.

Crap!!!!!! It's 6:20?! It's 6:20 and the wedding starts at 6:30?! Crap - Valerie's going to kill me! Gotta go jump in the shower! (Valerie's going to kill me!) I can't be late, I can't be late! (Valerie's going to kill me!)

Wow, that was one of the fastest showers I've ever taken. Wait a minute, did I use soap? And did I wash my hair? Oh crap, that's right; Valerie is going to kill me!

Okay, what to wear... All of this stuff looks wrinkled, except the suits, of course, but I don't want to wear a suit. Let's see, I'll wear the khakis, and this Hawaiian shirt will probably look good with it, and why don't I throw on the Masters jacket as well. That should make for a splendid ensemble. Okay, I'll throw on my black dress shoes and everything should be perfect. Okay I'm gone.

Crap!!! My hair!!! I didn't have time to do my hair! Okay, I guess I'm going to have to throw on the Harvard fishing hat. Now I'm out the door. (Valerie's going to kill me!)

Weekend of Weddings: Part 6

Part 6 in Cabral's Continuous Blog on Weekend of Weddings (with actual blogging being done during the ceremonies). See Part 5 here.

That pina colada that I just had by the pool certainly was a good way to top off things before resting up for the wedding. I'm glad Katherine told me that people were still hanging out there. Let me see now, I'm back in my room and it's about 5:30 pm. The wedding is not scheduled to start until 6:30 pm...so why don't I set my alarm for 6:20 pm? That should be plenty of time to get ready and head down for the wedding, right?

Weekend of Weddings: Part 5

Part 5 in Cabral's Continuous Blog on Weekend of Weddings (with actual blogging being done during the ceremonies). See Part 4 here.

Where the hell am I? Wait a minute, I'm in a car and I guess that this looks like the hotel where we are staying. But weren't we just playing golf a moment ago? Okay, let me try to piece things together...

I remember buying the beer right before the third hole. Yeah, that was a six pack of Coors Light. The beer was going down smoothly and we were having some fun driving around the golf course. Wait a minute, now I remember running out of beer a lot sooner than I expected and seeing the beer lady sometime after...let's just say it was sometime after the fourth hole. So what else was there to do but buy more beer? Buy a ham sandwich as well.

So I guess it was that second six pack of Coors Light that did the trick. Oh well, I was going to head back up to my hotel room to pass out for a while before the wedding, but Katherine just called me to say that there are a few people out by the pool. Well, let just go on out there and say hello to everyone. This can't possibly turn out to be a bad idea, can it?

Man, that was a really good ham sandwich...I think.

Weekend of Weddings: Part 4

Part 4 in Cabral's Continuous Blog on Weekend of Weddings (with actual blogging being done during the ceremonies). See Part 3 here.

We are now about ninety minutes into play and have just finished the third hole. At the rate that we're going, we might be done by Christmas. This is obviously a bit of a problem since Justin's and Valerie's wedding starts at 6:30 pm, and none of us would possibly be late for the wedding.

And apparently this golf thing is a bit harder than I thought. It wasn't until during the first hole of play that the rules were changed such that I was limited to eight strokes per hole, after two unsuccessful swings my ball would be moved up to the location of another player's shot, with a one stroke penalty, and other players were no longer able to stand within the 180 degrees of my shot direction (this change occurring after I nearly killed two players - one being the groom-to-be - after a shot I struck that was sliced by just a tad bit).

Never fear, though, we just bought some beer prior to this third hole so things should go smoothly from here on out, right?

Weekend of Weddings: Part 3

Part 3 in Cabral's Continuous Blog on Weekend of Weddings (with actual blogging being done during the ceremonies). See Part 2 here.

We just got over to the golf course and I must say that I am sensing an outstanding round out of me. I don't know why, just call it a hunch. Now sure, this will be the first time that I've swung a golf club (other than mini-golf) in like 19/20 years, but how hard can this be?

I only have one question; why did we stop in Wal-Mart and why do I need so many golf balls? Okay, those are really two separate questions. Why did we stop at Wal-Mart when we could have presumably stopped in any store to buy golf balls (and I hate Wal-Mart with a passion)? And why did I need to buy so many golf balls? Don't you only need like one golf ball to play?

Weekend of Weddings: Part 2

Part 2 in Cabral's Continuous Blog on Weekend of Weddings (with actual blogging being done during the ceremonies). See Part 1 here.

Well, as you might have noticed, I didn't get to do quite as much blogging as I would have hoped during Weekend of Weddings. And I certainly didn't get to do any actual blogging during the ceremonies themselves, which is a good thing because I absolutely hate the words "blog" and "blogging" and hate the fact that I have used them as much as I have up until this point.

However, my narrative about this weekend must be told, and so I plan continue telling of the events of this weekend almost as if they were in real-time. And so this means that I will try to go back to the specific times when the several events happened.

For those of you who have complained that I don't post things frequently enough here, you stop whining now because there will be several posts on this subject.

Note: This post is the official "I just woke up this morning and I'm heading to play golf for the first time ever" post.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Weekend of Weddings: Part 1

Part 1 in Cabral's Continuous Blog on Weekend of Weddings (with actual blogging being done during the ceremonies)

Well, this weekend is already off to an awful start (as I imagined would be the case) as today is my sister's birthday, and being the very best brother a person could possibly have, I decided to call her and wish her a happy birthday. But of course, even though my sister has like eight cell phones, all of them went to voice mail. I suppose that I could have just left a message, but (1) that's something that Cabral just doesn't like to do and (2) it seems a bit impersonal. If worse comes to worse, I guess I'll just post something on her Facebook page reminding her that today is exactly twenty-one weeks until my birthday.

And oh yeah, what also adds to the crummy start of this weekend is that apparently Kara has requested that I bring my Masters jacket to one of these weddings (yes, I do have a Masters jacket, which, considering the fact that I don't play golf, or at least not until tomorrow, obviously means that I stole the jacket from Augusta National or Gary Player) and so I must make a detour home to pick it up before heading to the airport. I don't know why I'm doing this since Kara is clearly a crazy person.

Well, I'm off to Florida!