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Merry Christmas

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

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The No-Deal for Teixeira

Imagine my shock when my friend Matt messaged me that Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees. While I wasn’t exactly thrilled with him possibly going to the Red Sox either, Teixeira going to the Yankees was a momentary kick in the gut I didn’t want two days before Christmas.

In the short term, it is a great deal for the Yankees. They get a big upgrade at 1B offensively and defensively over the departed Giambi.

In the long term? I really think they are going to regret that contract. Signing any player at the age of 28 or higher for 8 seasons is insane (don’t get me started on a pitcher getting nearly the same deal, like CC Sabathia was given), especially if it has a no-trade clause involved. Way too much can happen in that time frame. For example, Jason Giambi was better then Teixeira when he signed with the Yankees. Steroids, injuries, investigations, and who knows what else significantly altered him and he was never the same player.

Ok, getting onto the Sabathia deal, it is flat out insane to sign a pitcher for 7 seasons with the workload Sabathia had in his past. He’s a prime candidate to lose at least 2 of those seasons to injuries and have at least a couple more seasons of being an average or barely above average pitcher.

Of course, when the Yankees move from their original plan of developing young talent and being smart spending wise, I am always happy. Whatever resources they have tied up into single players, that makes things easier for the Red Sox, who are becoming quite good at bargain hunting with prospects, diamonds in the roughs, and then occasionally splurging to fill a gap.

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Power back on

Power was turned on at my condo about 3 hours ago. The condo is slowly heating back up, we just hit 60 degrees (it was just below 50 at its low point). We had to throw out all of our food earlier today and once we had power back, did a trip to the local grocery store to get the essentials from the next few days.

According to PSNH, about 173,000 are still without power (after a peak of nearly 400,000 just 2 days ago).

Speaking of which, my winners/losers in the media for their coverage of the ice storm and its aftermath.

Winners:

  • PSNH (local power company) – I had decided a few weeks ago to follow PSNH’s twitter account. It seemed like it was only used occasionally for press releases, but they were my power company so why not follow them? Turns out, they used their twitter account non-stop the past few days, passing along any updates that they had in outage reports and in a few cases, actual outage information. For those of us who’s only contact with the outside world was our phones for awhile, this was invaluable. They were remarkably candid as well, clearly admitting that the damage was unlike anything they had seen, that they had manpower shortages, and the limits of their resources. The person(s) using the account were very personal, replying to many people’s questions. Perfect use of twitter and a company understanding the web.
  • Union Leader (local newspaper) – I hate their politics and their web site is really bad design wise, reminding me of the late 90s (that is not a good thing). But I have to hand it to them, they had a fantastic blog (that is a link to today’s blog) on their web site that they posted frequent updates to from towns around the state as soon as they got the information. Their staff really stepped up to the plate and delivered. There web site by Friday afternoon and Saturday morning had links to other stories, such as how safe is your food in the refrigerator without power and so on. Along with PSNH’s twitter account, nearly all of my information came from them.

The Loser:

  • WMUR (local TV station) – Most of Friday morning in the aftermath of the ice storm, they were completely off the air (and as far as I can tell, there is still no explanation on their site saying why this occurred). Not a good start for what is essentially only TV station in NH. Not much of an improvement afterward though. Their web site hardly ever had fresh content, with no storm blog that was constantly updated as tidbits made their way in. It was common to read 5-8 hour old stories on their web site with little town specific information, unlike the Union Leader which seemed to have updates from towns across NH every hour or two at times! No live video or audio feed on their site either! Combined with a very confusing and cluttered web site (go into storm mode, with only storm related info on the page, get rid of the rest of the crap), it is clear they don’t get that this is the 21st century!
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Power outages continue

In day two of the Ice Storm of 2008 here in Manchester, New Hampshire.

My wife and I are alright and staying warm at my parents house. Finally got a hold of the condo office and they said there is still no power there for 36 straight hours now. Over 380,000 people are still without power in New Hampshire. A road right next to our street is closed with downed power lines and we suspect that is the cause of our power outage.

Our food in the refrigerator is probably spoiled at this point or rapidly approaching that point and will all have to be thrown out. Don’t want to risk getting sick from it later.

Thanks for the thoughts, we are fine and quite warm, well fed from my fantastic parents, and will do our best until power returns. Stay warm everyone, temps are dropping tonight again.

Don’t know what we are going to do tomorrow night if there is no power still. We both have to work on Monday. Concord is easy to get to from Sunapee, but Bedford is a lot harder, over a hour drive each way. We will cross that bridge when it arrives.

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Ice Storm of 2008

Here in New Hampshire we woke up to a major ice storm. Over 200,000 people are without power (including my home) and there are downed trees everywhere. While ice on trees look beautiful, it is so destructive! Temps at the moment are 34 degrees, which is just 2 degrees above freezing. So much water everywhere, if the temps drop again tonight tomorrow isn’t going to be pretty either.

Interstate 93 from Manchester north to Concord was clear though and I was able to get to work, going about 50mph with heavy rain falling. It looks like at least in the central part of the state that some of the main roads have been cleaned up, although the secondary roads have got to be a mess.

Stay safe everyone.

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New Red Sox uniforms

Looks like the Red Sox will have new uniforms for the 2009 season. You can see pictures of them on the very coincidentally linked online store. The traditional B hat will still be the primary hat, but there will also be a “hanging sox” alternate hat along with alternate home/away jerseys (all red or all blue).

What I really like is the new primary away uniforms, that are definitely retro looking straight from the 1980s. In an era where teams seem to go way overboard with flashy fonts, multiple colors, and unneeded fluff, the Red Sox seem to be going with the K.I.S.S. principle. I love it.

With an ice storm in process tonight and into tomorrow morning, the following Roger Hornsby quote (my favorite baseball quote of all time) says what I am thinking right now:

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” – Roger Hornsby.

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A tragic situation

My brother Dan has an amazing hobby that he does during his limited spare time: being a concert photographer. He travels the Northeast taking photos of everything from the top punk bands to the greenest of new bands, posting his finished results on his web site Future-Breed.com. This hobby of his allows him to see and hear so many bands, some for the first time, some for his 20th time. It is as if he is documenting history of the Boston punk scene. However, occasionally there is a very sad side to it as he discovered late last week.

My brother last Thursday night went to a show at Boston University just like he went to hundreds of others. Among the bands there were Last Lights, a band my brother hadn’t seen before but heard much about. He was so blown away by their performance he told the band that he would be at their show the next day and any others in the future that he could make. In particular, he was particularly struck by the intensity of their lead singer, Dominic Mallary. My brother’s photos chronicle the band’s set.

Little did my brother know, tragedy struck that night, as the lead signer of Last Lights, Dominic Mallary, had passed away just hours after the show. As part of his act, he would often wrap the mic cord around his neck during an intense part of the show. This time, this apparently caused a blood clot that turned into an aneurysm that traveled to his brain, causing him to die just hours after the show. My brother’s photos of the show are the last known photos of Dominic, who died doing what he loved best.

My brother has handled this situation with absolute class, being in touch with the band and family over the past week. He allowed the family and band to use photos from that last concert for memorial efforts as well as using the photos to help fundraise to pay for Dominic’s funeral.  I am very proud of my brother for helping them the best he can.

He has also allowed the local media to use some of his photos in their stories about this tragic death. The Boston Globe wrote a very well done story that uses one of his photos. WHDH Channel 7, also out of Boston, aired a story last night that incorporates several of my brother’s photos.

My deepest sympathy’s to Dominic’s family, band, and fans. What a heartbreaking story.

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Reason #1040 why I love my iPhone

Amazon.com came out today with their own native iPhone application. In itself, you may wonder why did they do that? Amazon.com had one of the best web sites designed for the iPhone, a striking simple and easy-to-use site that allowed you to do everything needed to empty your wallet with just a single-click. Why bother with an iPhone app?

Well the Amazon app is somehow even faster then the web app. It is easier to use and even has some really unique features. Like the feature that lets you take a picture of any item, sending it to amazon where they have a human analyze it, and within 5 minutes getting an e-mail with a link to the item on Amazon.com, ready for purchase.

How cool is that? I can instantly see myself going to a store, finding an item that seems overpriced, send a picture to Amazon, and by the time I do the rest of my shopping find out if Amazon has it for cheaper. Or at a friends house, seeing an item but not knowing the exact name, and checking to see if Amazon has it.

Did I mention that I love my iPhone?