Saturday, September 29, 2012

"I can't find my waitress."

If this story had only happened to me once before I wouldn't be telling it.  Even two or three times.  But since it occurs with some regularity I feel it's worth mentioning as a public service announcement.  A person sitting at a table comes up to me behind the bar and says "I can't find my waitress."  Since it's not a question, I usually just stare blankly at them for a moment to see if they have more to say.  When it becomes obvious they are waiting for a response from me, I hold back from asking "Have you looked?" (because 9 out of 10 times they haven't) and instead say something like "Let me try to find her for you.  What does she look like?"
Picture me behind the bar, and the girl with the bag as the culprit. 

"I don't know."

Seriously?  You can't give me anything?  Short, tall, blond, brunette; nothing?  At this point I glance around the room, gesture towards the closest server, and ask "Is that her?"  More often than not it is.  Occasionally I have to point out two or three people before successfully spotting the waitress who is apparently invisible to her patrons.

Please, please, don't ever be this person. I'd much rather you ask me for $7 of Patron, or even pull out a Scrabble board and start playing it on the bar.


Friday, September 28, 2012

The Red Sox are Still Playing

I want it to be over too, Bobby.
And because of that I have to keep writing about them; duties as a beat reporter for CLNS radio.  Go read "Red Sox Do Their Part to Keep Tampa in the Race, Move on to Baltimore."

Now I realize this post is boring and exactly the same as what I wrote last night, but I promise it's an anomaly and not a trend.  Just an incredibly weird coincidence of multiple journalistic assignments colliding at the same time with an overabundance of real life work; the perfect storm for bad blog entries.  It probably won't happen again for 75 years or so.  But stay tuned, I have something completely awesome and totally non-sports related for tomorrow.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Will KG and Pierce ever show there age?

I just finished writing a piece for CLNS Radio entitled "Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce: How Much Will the 'Old Men' Play?"  Here is the 37 second version:

Pierce turns 35 in two weeks and is entering his 15th NBA season.  Garnett is 36 and about to play his 18th year.  They have played 1,155 (PP) and 1,380 (KG) games respectively over the course of their careers.  For contrast Larry Bird only lasted 13 years and 1,061 games.  Pierce and Garnett are old.  But they're not acting like it.  You'd think Doc would start playing them fewer minutes this year.  But I also thought last year, and even the year before.  Somehow it's just not the case, the numbers show they haven't been slowing down:

Watch out Lebron, these guys don't seem to be getting older.

Season MPG:

Pierce            Garnett

35.9      '08       32.8
37.5      '09       31.1
34.0      '10       29.9
34.7      '11       31.3
34.0      '12       31.1

Not only have their minutes failed to decline, but they're staying fairly healthy with age as well.  Last year they missed just 11 games between the two of them, and the 6 for Garnett were the fewest since he's been in Boston.  For this season I'm predicting 33.4 MPG and 75 games for Pierce; 30.7 MPG and 71 games for KG.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's the Best Thing to Vend at Red Sox Games?

Tonight is the final game of the season at Fenway Park, and since nothing pertaining to the team itself is worthy of discussion, I'm going to write about the concessions.  More specifically, in the eyes of the vendors, which ones are the favorites to sell walking up and down the aisles?  This is a conversation I have revisited time and time again while sitting at Fenway, and it has a lot more layers than you might expect.  Here are several of the factors involved in no particular order:

"Peanuts" does well in most categories.  Clear cut winner.
Alcohol - This wins hands down.  No contest; the demand for it dwarfs everything else.  But it's only sold at your seat in a select few locations, so it's not really involved in the debate.  

Weather - On a cold night in spring or fall the frozen lemonade guy gets destroyed by the hot chocolate and chowder vendors.

Weight - That pole of cotton candy looks significantly easier to carry than the giant tray full of Diet Cokes.

Assembly - Ever watch what they have to do in order to get a hot dog in your hands?  Set down the huge metal box full of warm water (see above category Weight), grab one out with the tongs, pull a bun from the bag, put it all together in wax paper, dig up a mustard packet, etc.  You can definitely distribute a lot more packages of crackerjacks in that same amount of time.

Flair - Not only do fans like a show, but they love to be involved as well.  This gives the peanut guy who throws the bag at you from half a section away a huge competitive advantage over his peers.

Price - I'm not talking about how much the product costs, but rather the specific denomination.  This is the real wild card here; probably one of the most influential factors, and one frequently overlooked.  Having spent a long time working behind a bar, I can say without hesitation that the exact amount charged can have a huge impact on the tips you receive.  I've got to assume $5 even is the worst price for a vendor, routinely leading to no tip.  $4.75 probably gets you a quarter most of the time, but often only a quarter.  $4 may get you a buck sometimes, but nothing other times.  My guess is $4.25 is the best option, netting you 75 cents nearly every time.  Even if the person buys two, you probably don't do any worse than 50 cents.

Admittedly, these are just some theories of mine.  I suppose I could interview a real life vendor and get all the answers, but wouldn't that take the fun out of the discussion?


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Cryin'" by Aerosmith

In 1993 and 1994 Aerosmith released 3 singles that all sounded very much alike, with each of the videos featuring Alicia Silverstone.  Even the titles were similar; Cryin', Crazy, and Amazing.  I think Crazy was probably my favorite video of the bunch.  It starred Liv Tyler as well, and I remember seeing it over and over again on MTV in the Nike Tennis Camp dorms at Dartmouth College in the summer '94.  But today I'm going with Cryin', the first of the three and the one that started it all.

Also, I'd like to point out that when MTV and VH1 aired this video 19 years ago they used to blur out her middle finger at the end.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Officiating Troubles Go Beyond the Replacement Refs

I didn't watch or listen to any sports news today.  But I can safely assume that the NFL's replacement officials were all anybody was talking about, especially here in Patriots country.  That's not my issue at the moment though.  Like everyone is saying, I'm sure they are indeed much much worse than the regular refs.  But I believe there is a larger problem at hand which the current situation is simply bringing to the forefront: In today's NFL, the guys with the whistles play far too great a role in the outcome of games.  It's a dilemma I have noticed in the NBA as well.
I'm not sure what the solution is, Bill.

In both cases athletes are getting bigger, faster, and stronger, and it's becoming more and more difficult to tell what is and is not a penalty/foul.  If you look hard enough you can probably find a "hold" in almost every NFL play, or an illegal screen on every possession in an NBA game.  Is the pass interference on the offense or the defense; is the foul a charge, or just a flop?  Too many things are subjective, and virtually impossible for the referees to discern in real time with the naked eye.  Meanwhile we are able to sit back at home and watch HD replays from various angles at an extreme close up in super slow motion.  The officials don't stand a chance.

In this respect Major League Baseball is a much better game than the other two (sorry hockey, you don't get to be in this debate).  With the exception of an occasional ball/strike dispute or safe/out call, the game is almost always decided by the actions of the players, not the umpire's perceptions of them.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Do people really go out with nothing but their phones?

The other day I walked into a pizza place across the street from my apartment, and there was something like this sitting on the counter next to the register:

Apparently it's called "Level Up," and it allows you to pay for things with your cell phone.  The app stores your credit card info, and puts a bar code on the screen to scan when you want to buy stuff with it.  Obviously there is a market for this.  Probably it's going to be huge.  But it doesn't appear to be any quicker or easier than just swiping your actual credit card, so I think it's really only useful if your phone is the only thing you are carrying. Unfortunately I don't really envision a situation for me where that would happen; at least until some time in the future when my "phone" is able to replace my keys as well.


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