Okay, after a light three weeks, I intend to get back to a daily routine on this blog. Stay tuned!
Congrats to the U.S. Davis Cup team for dispatching Spain to advance to the semifinal round. Playing in North Carolina, James Blake shook off his slump with a straight-sets win over top-tenner Tommy Robredo in Friday's first match. Andy Roddick followed suit with another convincing victory in the second singles showdown. Today's doubles success by Bob and Mike Bryan clinched the tie for the home team.
I've put my new school-issued laptop through its paces for just over a week now and generally am quite pleased with the machine. The Intel chips are clearly faster than the PowerPCs in my iBook, especially when using the applications built for the new architecture. I like the black version since I already have the white iBook (and--more importantly--this model has a faster processor, more memory, and a bigger hard drive than the entry-level white MacBook).
The screen is a LOT brighter and sharper, with the "glossy" factor a big plus--watching videos on this gorgeous screen is a much more pleasant experience. And I love Front Row, with its simple remote control being able to access iTunes music, movies, and television shows, as well as photos and DVDs. (I plan to use the remote to run a Keynote presentation for the entire Choate faculty tomorrow, too.)
The keyboard is noticeably improved. The computer itself is smaller and lighter, which makes it better suited for travel than than the iBook that has circled the world with me the last two years. The built-in iSight camera is very cool, obviating the need to carry and hook up the standalone version of iSight when I want to use A/V iChat or Photo Booth or Delicious Library. I LOVE the magnetic attachment to the power cord, designed to prevent the computer being yanked off a table or desk when someone (i.e., me) eventually trips over the cord.
I haven't yet loaded Windows on the machine but will do so in the next week or so--hopefully in a Vista flavor. Now I am really looking forward to the release of the Leopard OS, new iLife and iWork software packages, and Office for Mac 2008, all due in the months ahead.
Season (half-season, technically) premiere of The Sopranos: pretty good.
Season premiere of Entourage: kinda weak.
Latest installment of 24: so-so episode, which surprisingly wraps up the search for the suitcase nukes and now the season apparently will pivot to Jack's search for Audrey, who is being held by the Chinese, for its final seven hours.
My schedule today included back-to-back-to-back athletic director meetings with various groups. 2:30 was the Eight Schools Athletic Council, 5:30 was the Founders League, and 7:00 was the Western New England Prep School Athletic Association. By the time I got home at 9:15, I was pretty frazzled. Fortunately, all three sessions were here on the Choate campus, so I didn't have very far to go.
I have the sense that Lost is starting to provide more answers to at least some of the long-standing questions that have hovered over the series since its start in 2004. Tonight, for example, we learned how "the others" know so much about the Flight 815 survivors. This kind of payoff keeps me tuning in.
This morning I had to drive up to Northfield, Massachusetts--due north from Wallingford, just below the Vermont border--to meet with the Eight Schools heads. The drive up was through mild sleet, but things were a bit more treacherous on the way home. I hydroplaned a bit on I-91, which quickly convinced me to take it a bit more slowly. Made it back to campus for an indoor practice this afternoon.
Yes! Ed Helms returns to The Office as Andy . . . sorry, it's DREW now . . . Bernard. This character adds so much to the interaction at Dunder Mifflin.
Apple's forthcoming operating system upgrade, code-named "Leopard," will be delayed until the fall. It was expected in June. I guess I'll have to be patient.
I just dropped off my primary desktop Mac at the Apple Store in the Westfarms Mall, as it's been intermittently losing power and abruptly shutting down for some time now--not a happy state of affairs. Apple is fixing it for free, though, but in the meantime I'll be without the machine until sometime next week.
Choate Tennis finished the week with victories in the first two matches of the 2007 season: one on Wednesday at Loomis Chaffee, and a contest here this afternoon against Phillips Exeter. We'll try to keep up the good work.
I got a call from the Apple Store yesterday, telling me my 20" G5 iMac was ready for pick-up, less than 24 hours after I dropped it off. And here I am using the machine now to post to the blog. The paperwork indicates over $900 of repairs--a new logic board and a new power supply--but I paid nothing. I love Apple!
This was just sent to me. Check it out.
Tom Friedman's cover piece in Sunday's New York Times Magazine is a must-read on the need to make environmental issues a top national (and global) priority. He makes his case based on geopolitics as well as science. Here is a snippet of his argument:
I want to rename “green.” I want to rename it geostrategic, geoeconomic, capitalistic and patriotic. I want to do that because I think that living, working, designing, manufacturing and projecting America in a green way can be the basis of a new unifying political movement for the 21st century. A redefined, broader and more muscular green ideology is not meant to trump the traditional Republican and Democratic agendas but rather to bridge them when it comes to addressing the three major issues facing every American today: jobs, temperature and terrorism.
How do our kids compete in a flatter world? How do they thrive in a warmer world? How do they survive in a more dangerous world? Those are, in a nutshell, the big questions facing America at the dawn of the 21st century. But these problems are so large in scale that they can only be effectively addressed by an America with 50 green states — not an America divided between red and blue states.
Because a new green ideology, properly defined, has the power to mobilize liberals and conservatives, evangelicals and atheists, big business and environmentalists around an agenda that can both pull us together and propel us forward. That’s why I say: We don’t just need the first black president. We need the first green president. We don’t just need the first woman president. We need the first environmental president. We don’t just need a president who has been toughened by years as a prisoner of war but a president who is tough enough to level with the American people about the profound economic, geopolitical and climate threats posed by our addiction to oil — and to offer a real plan to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
A recent source of amusement around these parts has been the phenomenon of "un-friending" someone on Facebook. This has happened to me: one day you notice that a person who once asked you to approve his/her friendship request has since quietly dropped you from "friend" status. It's hard to take it too seriously, of course, but it begs the question why one would initiate the contact in the first place. Then there's a class of people who want me among their Facebook friends, but block me from seeing their messages, photos, etc. I guess some insecurity like this is to be expected from kids who worry about a faculty member seeing their "secrets"--though the vast majority of kids at Choate who have friended me apparently don't worry about it--but it's harder to explain when graduates do the same thing. What's the point?
I figured out the source of the iWeb difficulties that have been interfering with my Choate Tennis intranet site since last spring: essentially it's an issue with the Choate firewall here on campus. So since the middle of last week when I relaunched the site, every time I want to upload changes, I make my way up the street to the Wallingford Public Library to take advantage of its free (and apparently firewall-free) wireless network.
No iTunes link for this one (yet): in observation of today's IRS filing deadline, here is "Taxman" by The Beatles.
I got a letter from Comcast, my cable company, today informing me that Tennis Channel will be appearing on my line-up around May 8--just in time for the French Open coverage. Yay!
The spring term at school hits the midpoint this week. Summer vacation is not far away!
Just got in from an off-day away tennis match up at Westminster School. Choate won, 5-2, but because we didn't leave until after the class day and our route to Simsbury was detoured due to the flooding of the Farmington River, we started late and of course matches dragged on far longer than they should have. An occupational hazard, I guess.
The Monte Carlo Country Club is hosting one of the ATP's Masters Series tournaments this week. This event is over a century old and has long been considered one of the premier stops on the European spring clay court circuit. Supposedly the club is a spectacularly beautiful setting, with scenic views overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
So far, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal remain on course for a final-round rematch of the 2006 championship. Nadal is gunning for a third straight Monte Carlo title.
Like many people, I would identify Saturday morning as my favorite time of the week. The weekend still lies ahead in its entirety and there is an enjoyable sense of leisure at hand. Here are some specific things I like about Saturday mornings:
• an eggs Benedict breakfast down the hill at Abbott and Cassello's
• "Weekend Edition" with Scott Simon on NPR
• getting the Sunday inserts (e.g., Arts & Leisure section, the magazine) delivered with the Saturday New York Times
• quiet time in the office to work on projects
This afternoon was spectacular and warm--climbing to the 80 degree mark--and a great chance to take in an array of sports here on the Choate campus. As it's a rare Saturday without a scheduled match for my tennis team, I was able to run a short workout for the squad and then make the rounds wearing my AD hat to all the other activity underway: girls' tennis, baseball, softball, girls' lacrosse, boys' lacrosse, girls' water polo, boys' volleyball.
Kudos to the Bryans for adding another Masters Series title to their impressive list of career accomplishments by winning the Monte Carlo title earlier today.
Three Monte Carlo titles in a row for Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard beat #1 Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 in a rematch of the 2006 final and now holds a 5-0 edge on the Swiss player on clay. Nadal climbs to 7-3 overall against Federer and extends his clay winning streak to 67. Hard to argue Rafa won't be the odds on favorite for a third French Open title as well this spring.
Check out a new sports-themed blog produced by a couple of Choate fourth formers: http://www.thebleachercreatures.com/.
I've always found this song--"Something To Talk About" by Bonnie Raitt--irresistible.
Heroes returned to the NBC line-up tonight--the first new episode in nearly two months. The final arc of the season is underway and the show is as entertaining as ever.
David Halberstam died this week in a car accident in California. He enjoyed a distinguished career as a journalist and a sportswriter. I admire the versatility with which he alternated his work between "serious" topics and sport; of course, I'd argue he approached the latter with the same seriousness of purpose he brought to all his coverage of politics and culture. I've enjoyed a number of his books, which I've always found well written and provocative.
One personal anecdote came to mind in the wake of his passing: some years ago when I was teaching the Vietnam War elective here at Choate, I included excerpts from The Best And The Brightest, Halberstam's book on the genesis of the war among American politicians, on my syllabus. Well, one day Halberstam was visiting the Choate campus--I think one of his children was an applicant--and the tour guide was one of my students enrolled at that time in The U.S. In Vietnam. The good news was that this student told Mr. Halberstam that he was reading The Best And The Brightest as part of his coursework and found it fascinating. The bad news was that he let on that Halberstam's book had been distributed in (royalty-free) photocopy form! D'oh!
Anyway, we will miss this man of letters and his urbane and humane voice.
Choate Tennis has finished the first half of its season and now holds a respectable 5-1 record (the team dropped a 3-4 match to Taft on Monday). I have been producing podcasts with members of the squad after each contest, something that has proved to be popular with players, their families, and others on campus.
It's password protected--as it's intended for an internal audience--so anyone wanting to sample it should drop me a line.
I just finished teaching my 11:00 class and now will enjoy Spring Long Weekend until Monday morning!
I am heading to the Bronx to see if the Yanks can snap a losing streak. 20-year-old phenom Phil Hughes is on the mound for his major league debut.
The number 6 was not kind to the Yankees tonight. They dropped a game to the Blue Jays 0-6 for their sixth straight loss. Another disappointing effort from the men in pinstripes.
The school's IT department loaded Parallels on my new MacBook today, which enables me to run Windows XT (also installed) at the same time as Mac OS X. I'll let you know how it works when I get some time to play with it.
I am about to leave for New York City for the second day in a row--this time to see a production of the Handel opera Giulio Cesare at The Met. This will be my fourth trip to the opera in the past six months, and my fourth time at The Met.
I enjoyed the Handel opera Giulio Cesare, loosely based on Caesar's historical campaign in Egypt and the intertwining of sex and politics in his relationship with Cleopatra.
The nice thing about Spring Long Weekend is the sense of an expansive break. All day, I keep thinking it's Sunday, but then I realize there's ANOTHER day off tomorrow! Sweet.
I drove down to Stamford tonight for dinner with a Choate family and a couple of seniors enjoying the long weekend away from campus. About halfway down the Merritt Parkway, I came upon a grisly accident scene--apparently just after it happened. There were three cars involved: one banged up a little, another that looked like it had been squashed, and a third flipped and largely flattened. As I passed the latter, I saw the upper torso of a woman strapped into her seat, looking pretty lifeless. I am not sure if she was dead or not, but it was a chilling sight. I found myself driving much more deliberately the rest of the trip down and then back up again.
Rafael Nadal three-peated in Barcelona to extend his clay court winning streak on the tour to 72. He is now 15-0 in finals on the dirt.
. . . from the company's point of view, at least!
I pay about $10 a month to rent a succession of movies. Not a bad deal: it's convenient, shipping is easy, there is wide selection of DVDs available.
The problem, from my point of view, is that the last disc shipped to me was City Of God, in late December 2006. Now, of course, I have been traveling around the world much of the time since then. But in the five weeks plus since I've been home for spring term, I have yet to watch this movie. So I am paying about $120 a year to rent 2-3 DVDs. They must love me at Netflix Central!
Hiro Nakamura may be the most interesting character on television right now. Don't miss Heroes on NBC.