Archive for December, 2006

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

There are a FREAKING TON of Boise State fans here. Maybe ten of 'em for every Oklahoma fan. Unbelievable turnout for the folks from Idaho.

Happy New Year, Atlantic Time Zone!

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

It’s 2007 in Atlantic Canada, Bermuda, much of the Caribbean, and parts of South America. In New York, there’s just an hour to go. (Here’s a live webcast from Times Square.) Here in Arizona, we’ve got three hours left in 2006.

Happy New Year, Newfoundland & Labrador!

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

There are still 90 minutes until the ball drops in Times Square, but the Newfies are partying at this (half-)hour. Woohoo! Happy 2007, eh?

Becky, Casey and I are en route to Tempe for the Insight Fiesta Bowl Block Party right now. I actually typed up this post over an hour ago, and set it to publish at the designated time. There will be a few more automated posts as the night goes on, in addition to whatever mobile posts I might blog.

Wedding video highlights

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Yesterday, on Becky’s and my first anniversary (which was very nice, BTW, and thanks for all the good wishes), I said I would post some YouTube highlights from our wedding video, probably “sometime around midday.” That proved impossible because of technical difficulties (YouTube took freakin’ forever “processing” the uploads) and other issues. But now the videos are finally online for your viewing pleasure.

I’ll start at the end, instead of the beginning, because if you’re going to watch anything, you should watch the first three minutes of this eight-minute collection of highlights from the reception. Why? Because those three minutes contain my parents’ wonderful musical performance of “Galway City,” a silly Irish song that they also performed at their own wedding. Funny stuff. Also in this clip: the groomsmen’s goofy message, the SHA girls singing their school song, Andrew dancing a jig to Great Big Sea, me dancing with Andrew (heh), and various other scenes of dance-floor revelry. Enjoy:

Moving backwards chronologically, here is the video of Becky’s and my first dance. Our song is probably one of the more unorthodox you’ll ever hear as a wedding song: it’s an obscure country ditty called “In Spite of Ourselves,” written by John Prine in the late ’90s for the movie Daddy and Them. We heard it on a country radio station in Kansas while driving across the country during college, and immediately loved it and thought it was a great song for us. It was a big hit at the wedding, as you can tell from the laughter in the background. (Also listen for Becky’s mom saying “WHAT?!?” after one of the funnier lyrics in the first verse. Heh.)

Finally, back to the beginning: here’s a clip showing three key moments from the wedding ceremony — Becky’s dad giving her away, us saying our wedding vows, and the priest pronouncing us husband and wife — all spliced together into 2 minutes, 41 seconds of video. No, the ceremony was not really this short. :)

Like I said before, the whole video can be viewed chapter-by-chapter here (you’ll need to turn off pop-up blockers), or you can view the whole thing in its raw ASX-file form here.

P.S. Several months ago, I posted a clip of our introduction at the reception — to the strains of Conquest. You can watch that video here.

The sun sets on 2006

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Happy New Year to Kim, Jen, Sóren & Kaja…

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

…and everyone else in the British Isles (and Iceland, Portugal and far-western Africa).

It’s now officially 2007 in Greenwich Mean Time, a.k.a. Coordinated Universal Time, a.k.a. UTC, a.k.a. Zulu time.

Five hours to go in New York. Seven hours to go here in Arizona.

Lots of New Year’s webcams here. Times Square webcams here.

Bengals Coug it; Raiders “win” Battle for Brady

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

For the second time in as many weeks, the Cincinnati Bengals blew a chance to potentially make the playoffs with a kick. Last week, it was a bungled snap on an extra point that prevented them from sending the game to overtime. This week, it was a missed 39-yard field goal that would have won the game in regulation. And the Steelers just prevailed in overtime, so the Bengals are eliminated.

What’s bad news for Carson Palmer is good news for Norm Chow, though. The Bengals’ loss, coupled with Kansas City’s win, keeps Chow, Vince Young and Tennessee Titans alive in the playoff hunt. But maybe not for long. The Titans trail the Patriots, 33-23 late in the fourth quarter. If they come back and win, they’d just need a Denver loss later today, and they’d be in. If they lose, Kansas City is in if Denver loses; Denver’s in if they win.

UPDATE: Patriots lead, 40-23. Game over. Bengals and Titans both out. So it’s either the Chiefs or the Broncos for the last AFC playoff spot.

How frustrating will it be for Titans fans if the Broncos lose? Everything they needed to happen today would have happened — except the Titans winning.

P.S. In other news, Detroit just beat Dallas, which costs them the #1 pick in the NFL Draft! So it’ll be Oakland (which lost to the Jets) that gets the first pick. Brady Quinn is theirs if they want him.

Quote of the day

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Me, responding to Becky harassing me to stop blogging and work on our budget: “I’m on break. I don’t think you should be able to nag me.”

Becky: “No, that doesn’t follow. You never get a break from being my husband.”

Heh.

On a related note, it occurred to me last night that this is the last time I’ll ever have a “winter break.” I’ve been a student for 20 of the past 21 years, but this time next year, I’ll be in the working world — which, because I’m not going into teaching, means I’ll get a couple of days off, not several weeks off, for the holidays. Dammit.

P.S. The clock just struck 2:00 PM here in Arizona, which means it’s time to say: Happy New Year, Iraq!

Happy New Year, Iran!

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

It’s midnight on January 1, 2007 in Tehran. Here’s hoping the new year brings a change of direction in that country, with less warmongering and more heckling.

To see what time it is elsewhere around the world, visit WorldTimeZone.com. They’re a half-hour away from 2007 in Moscow, Baghdad, Riyadh and Mogadishu, among other places. Cairo has an hour-and-a-half to go, Paris 2 1/2 hours. And if there’s a single “official” start of the new year, it isn’t when the ball drops in New York in 8 1/2 hours, but when Greenwich, England enters 2007 in 3 1/2 hours and the official “Zulu time” turns over to 01/0000Z.

P.S. Here’s a Java applet counting the time left till 2007 in various major cities. And here’s a static list of all the time zones and when they hit local midnight.

Here in Arizona, we’re in the UTC+7 time zone, meaning we’ve got seven more hours than Greenwich, England to wait — which is to say, we’re 10 1/2 hours away from 2007 yet. It’ll be 2:00 AM EST when we enter the new year. At least, that’s the official view, and the Brendan Loy view. Here in the Zak household, though, the prevailing wisdom is that it’s the new year when the ball drops in New York. I dispute this every year, but Ted and Ginny are unyielding in their adherence to what you might call the “Dick Clark principle” of New Year’s countdowns. :) Never mind that one channel actually re-runs the Times Square countdown two hours after the fact, so it’s actually possible to watch the ball drop at midnight local time. Anyway, I’ll be staying up till midnight, that’s for damn sure. Whether I’m here in Gold Canyon, or out at the Insight Fiesta Bowl Block Party in Tempe, has yet to be decided.

Saddam’s execution

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Unlike the official video of Saddam Hussein’s execution, which shows only the final preparations before the hanging, an unofficial video — apparently taken by someone in the room with a cell-phone camera (!) — has appeared online, and it shows the whole thing, albeit with a lot of jerky and erratic camera movement. WARNING: Do not click the previous link unless you want to see Saddam Hussein hanged! (Obviously.)

Meanwhile, the American Thinker offers some historical perspective:

Most of the great butchers of the 20th century died of old age, in their own beds, some of them honored by millions. Not a single one met justice in the sense accepted in free states across the world. The handful who died otherwise are aberrations, victims of strange events that act as models for nothing.

There is one single exception – the hanging of Saddam Hussein on December 30, 2006 after a careful, lengthy trial carried out under extremely difficult circumstances according to internationally recognized judicial norms. The state of Iraq has succeeded where the rest of the civilized world has failed. It is a singular achievement, and it will stand.

(Hat tip: InstaPundit.)

Britney Spears, Matt Leinart seen together in Scottsdale

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Apparently not satisfied with bedding one-third of the Paris Hilton-Britney Spears-Lindsay Lohan axis of skankiness, Matt Leinart reportedly tried to increase his completion rate to 67% Friday night at the Jackrabbit Lounge in Scottsadle, Arizona. At least, that’s what gossip blog PerezHilton.com is saying:

The quarterback, previously linked with Paris Hilton, plays for the Arizona Cardinals.

And Friday night he was playing Britney Spears!

Sources tell us that the pair were flirting hardcore on the patio area all night long, bumping and grinding and whispering in each others’ ears.

(Hat tip: Toni.)

But alas, it looks like Leinart wasn’t able to connect on this 4th-and-9 pass: Britney reportedly spent her last night in Arizona sans Matt.

Spears is expected to be in Vegas tonight for New Year’s. Of course, who knows whether Leinart might be in the vicinity as well. It’s not like he has a playoff run to get ready for! He could easily fly up to Sin City after the Cardinals’ season-ending game in San Diego this afternoon. He’s certainly familiar with Vegas, as it’s where he and Paris got hot and heavy earlier this year. Anyway, if Leinart’s New Year’s resolutions for 2006 included making it with two Hollywood floozies, he’d better hurry!

P.S. Just to make this story all the more trashy: Leinart’s a new dad. His “girlfriend,” USC women’s basketball player Brynn Cameron (I was under the impression they had broken up, but not according to Us magazine; there are even rumors that they’re engaged), gave birth to 6-pound-7-ounce Cole Cameron Leinart on October 24.

Of course, Britney Spears has a history of dating (and marrying, and divorcing) guys who have babies at home and/or on the way

Thebeef leads Irish Trojan contest

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Georgia’s 31-24 comeback win over Virginia Tech in the Peach Bowl (I refuse on principle to call it by its ridiculous corporate name*), the third double-digit second-half comeback in two days of bowl games, vaulted thebeef into sole possession of first place in the 2nd annual Irish Trojan bowl pick ’em contest.

Thebeef had been tied with alphadog, Jeff Freeze, David Plewes, Timugen and defending champion Brian Dupuis (DUP) since Boston College’s win over Navy earlier in the day. Those five are now tied for second place with Ed (SFV) and Colin Pedicini. They have 25 points out of a possible 31, two less than thebeef’s 27.

There is only one bowl game on Sunday, the MPC Computers Bowl between Miami and Nevada. It is the last bowl worth 2 points; the non-BCS New Year’s Day bowls will be worth 3 points apiece, the BCS bowls 5, and the title game 8. Anyway, thebeef picked Miami, so he will remain in sole possession of the lead if the Hurricanes win. If the Wolfpack wins, thebeef will be tied for first with Pedicini, Freeze, Timugen, Ed and alphadog.

Complete standings here and after the jump.

*Appending a corporate sponsor to traditional bowl names is distasteful enough, but removing the traditional name entirely and replacing it with the corporation’s name is absolutely ridiculous. It’s one thing when it’s the former Humanitarian Bowl, a small-time game with a short and undistinguished history. But with the Peach Bowl, we’re talking about a game with nearly 40 years of history. I don’t care that Chick-fil-A “bought out the naming rights.” It’s the Peach Bowl, it has always been the Peach Bowl, and it will always be the Peach Bowl, period. I wish more sports reporters, analysts and anchors would have the balls to defy the corporate absurdity and call it that. In fact, if journalists simply ignored all the corporate nonsense and just called the bowls by their proper names, the incentive to rename these games would largely disappear. But of course, the journalists themselves work for corporations that have business relationships with the sponsoring corporations, so that’s not going to happen. Alas. But anyway, I can at least do my extremely small part by ignoring the offensive corporate name changes, and I would encourage all other bloggers and independent journalists to do the same.

(more…)

Gonzaga loses third straight; ND wins, ‘SC Cougs it

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Well, the good news is, Gonzaga plays better in the NCAA Tournament when they’re the underdog, right? :| Here’s hoping that trend continues, because the Zags ain’t going to be no #3 seed in 2007.

The Zags lost their third straight game Saturday, 82-74 to Nevada, and fell to 9-5 on the season, 4-5 since beating then-#2 North Carolina in the preseason NIT on November 22.

How should I feel about this? Cue La Rev:

Weird season this. If this were the first game of the year, we’d have been pretty happy. For that matter, if it were the game right before Carolina, we’d have been pretty happy. Some time after the Carolina win, however, this season turned on its head. I’m probably a little guilty myself, but Zag fans should start remembering that this is still a rebuilding year.

Buuuuuuuuuut…

That was a pretty stinkin’ winnable game. There’s not really an excuse for losing a close game to a team who had the best player on the floor foul out with five minutes left. … Nevada’s good. Real good. But GU should have won that sucker.

The Zags have one more nonconference game — at Virginia on Wednesday — before starting conference play. And while that means things should get easier for them (Gonzaga plays probably the toughest nonconference schedule in the country, to make up for the weakness of the WCC), it won’t necessarily be a cakewalk: their WCC schedule opens Jan. 6 with Loyola Marymount, the team picked to finish #2. It’s at home, though, where Gonzaga has a 6,714-game winning streak (or something like that). Here’s hoping the Zags, who haven’t played at home since December 9, return to Spokane to face the Lions sporting a 10-5 record, not a 9-6 one and a four-game losing streak. Beat the Cavs!

Speaking of three-game losing streaks, erstwhile mid-major darling Wichita State, an undefeated Top 10 team just a week ago, also lost its third straight Saturday, 63-59 to Missouri Valley Conference foe Northern Iowa. That’s not much of a surprise, though. Expect those MVC teams to beat up on each other all season long. It’s what they do. (Apropos of which, Creighton beat Missouri State 77-74 in another big MVC showdown.)

Alas, the team that gave Wichita State the second of its three straight losses — USC — was not able to complete a home sweep of the Washington schools, blowing an 11-point second-half lead and ultimately losing to Wazzu 58-55. Washington State has a damn fine team this season, but still, I’m afraid the Trojans Coug’d this one.

But there is some good news. Notre Dame, playing without the services of alleged pothead Kyle McAlarney, won its 11th straight, 95-66 over Stony Brook. The Irish open Big East play Wednesday against Louisville at the Joyce Center.

Oh, and some more good news: former Gonzaga star Adam Morrison scored a career-high 30 points as he led the Charlotte Bobcats to 113-102 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Irish basketball starter arrested for pot possession

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Notre Dame starting guard Kyle McAlarney was arrested for marijuana possession yesterday, and is sitting out at least today’s game against Stony Brook. “He won’t play today. That’s I think all I’m prepared to say at this point,” said Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White, according to the linked article. “White added that McAlarney’s playing and university enrollment status will be handled by Notre Dame’s student affairs department.”

The ND basketball blog Black and Green thinks “we have seen the last of K-Mac for the year, if not forever.” He quotes duLac:

Possession, use or misuse of any controlled substance, including, but not limited to, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines and depressants, is a serious violation. Students who possess, use or misuse such substances shall be subject to disciplinary suspension or permanent dismissal.

In a later post, he adds:

I really couldn’t care less about search laws or probable cause or actual usage. K-Mac had drugs in his car, and will now face the consequences. Whatever the punishment, and it’s starting to sound more and more like expulsion, Kyle can blame no one but himself. I think he’s a pretty good guy, but there is no excuse for this. …

This must just kill Mike Brey. After a terrific season so far, a loss at his shallowest position at a pivotal point in the season. K-Mac’s impact on this team is beyond the plain assist-turnover ratio. He was the catalyst for the offense, with everyone else feeding off of him. Now, Falls and Carter cannot be themselves if there is no cornerstone holding it together.

(Hat tip: Randy.)

In other basketball news, Gonzaga tries to end its two-game losing streak when it plays Nevada in the “Battle in Seattle” tonight at 6:00 PM EST. GO ZAGS!

Happy Anniversary to us!

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

One year ago tonight, I was blogging this and getting ready for the biggest, happiest day of my life: Becky’s and my wedding day. That’s right — today, Saturday, December 30, is Becky’s and my first anniversary.

In honor of the occasion, here’s something I’ve been meaning to link to for a while: our wedding video, in streaming-video form. You’ll have to turn off any pop-up blockers, or set up weddingdvd.com as an “allowed site.” Also, please note, the “Play Movie” feature doesn’t actually work; you have to play the movie scene-by-scene.

If you can’t get it to work at all — personally, I have trouble in both Safari and Firefox on my Mac — you can also try loading the video directly at the URL http://www.weddingdvd.com/movies/meta/46976_1_gold.asx. That file contains the whole video, all 90-plus minutes of it.

And of course, our full, extremely extensive gallery of wedding photos can be found here, as always.

Anyway, Happy Anniversary to us! :)

P.S. I’m working on extracting some “highlights” and uploading them to YouTube, for people who don’t want to wade through an hour-and-a-half worth of video (which I assume is, like, pretty much everyone). So, stay tuned for that. I’ll probably have them online sometime around midday.