September 11, 2004

Waste of time

That seemed to be the theme for us today, waste of time. First we decided to go to the Technology & Lifestyles Expo, put on by our local NBC affiliate. This entailed a 20-minute, one-way drive from home to downtown Dallas. A 10-minute search for a parking space—which cost us the highway-robberish fee of $10—was then followed by a 10-minute trek from said parking space in to the expo hall.

We left 15 minutes later. Yes, it was really, really, really lame.

The coolest thing going was the participation of the Dallas Personal Robotics Group, which had a kitchen-trash can-sized bot roaming the aisles with a sign noting the location of their booth. The booth had a nice little crowd, and most of the bots I saw were RC car-sized, with a few Aibo-like dog-bots thrown in for good measure. There was a Segway at another booth, but, of course, you couldn’t try it out.

Dell was a major sponsor of the event, but shockingly, did not have a booth, or really any presence whatsoever. Not that I’m a fan of the PC box mover, but you’d a-thunk that a technology company sponsoring a supposed-technology event would want to show up. Their absence only served to underscore how incredibly lame the entire thing was. The big highlight seemed to be the chance to meet a real-life soap opera star from Days of Our Lives at the NBC 5 booth, which NBC 5 touted relentlessly for the past month. All in all, there was very little technology-lifestyle exhibits, whereas you could find a couple of small colleges, a consumer credit counseling service, and the Dallas Fire Department’s “Smoke House” participation booth.

For shame, for shame, NBC 5. I wasted 40 minutes and 10 bucks just to get in to your crappy show. The show itself was free, and clearly underscored the maxim, “You get what you pay for.” If you are in the Dallas area, and are thinking of going this weekend or next year, please spare yourself the misery.

That being a complete bust, we headed up the Dallas North Tollway toward Frisco, and Stonebriar Mall. After a lunch stop at Blue Mesa, we headed to Stonebriar, when my wife saw they had a Sam Moon Trading Company in one of the out lots. Having heard raves from friends about the establishment, she insisted we check it out.

First, the parking lot for the store, which is actually in a small strip mall with four other businesses, is incredibly small. We eventually gave up trying to find a spot and parked in the mall parking lot, then walked across the mall’s circular drive. This particular Sam Moon location—and they could all be like this as far as I know—was actually divided in to two stores. We entered the smaller one first; it was mostly luggage and travel-related stuff. A goodly selection, but I was unimpressed based on the hype received from my spouse. And there was so much luggage littering the floor spaces, up to and including most of the aisles, that it was difficult to maneuver our son’s stroller around.

So we were quite surprised to then see, upon our exit, that there was a sign on the door which we missed, clearly stating “No strollers on Sat”. You will note from today’s date this is a Saturday.

When we tried to enter the larger Sam Moon establishment, we were turned away by the security guard at the door, because of our stroller. I replied, to no one in particular, and not very loudly, though a few around us heard, “Sam Moon sucks.” We departed, and I plan to never go back.

Sam Moon chooses to discriminate against working mothers—the stores are clearly targeted at women—by not allowing strollers on Saturdays. Moms who work during the week, then head home to take care of their families, and have only Saturday to go shopping, cannot take their infant or toddler children with them to the much-hyped Sam Moon.

Why not, you say, just take them with no stroller? Have you, dear reader who would suggest such a thing, tried to shop with a one-year-old in your arms, on your hip, for more than ten minutes? What you suggest, especially in light of the environs of the Sam Moon Trading Company, is utter foolishness, as many a mom will attest.

The obvious solution is to leave said infant or toddler home with their college football-watching dad, but this one doesn’t work for single working moms. It also doesn’t apply in our case, since the college football-watching dad was actually with working mom, attempting to go in to Sam Moon. Better to avoid it altogether; it’s all knock-offs anyway.

I should have called the Frisco fire marshal, because the luggage store was obviously a fire hazard…

posted by retrophisch at 05:08 PM
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September 06, 2004

1-0, but no longer #3

It was a disaster. No, I’m not talking about Florida after the double-whammy of Charley and Frances, though that certainly qualifies, and more so. I’m talking about the near-loss by LSU Saturday night against Oregon State.

The Beavers were supposed to come in and give the Tigers a good go, but eventually fall to the defending BCS champions. Oregon State would have no such thing, and shocked LSU in to double overtime. And there but for the right-leaning foot of Beavers kicker Alex Serna—and I’m not talking politics—would have gone the Tigers’ chance at repeating as BCS champs. Serna missed three extra point attempts, including the one that would have sent the two teams to a third overtime, but instead won the game for the Tigers.

LSU had problems from the outset. For the second year in a row, the home opener was delayed due to a monsoon. This levelled the playing field as far as Oregon State was concerned, and they took advantage of it from the opening kickoff, when LSU’s Skyler Green fumbled on his own 25-yard line. The Beavers would eventually turn that in to six points; it was the first extra point Serna would miss.

The pundits of college football now point to this game as LSU being overrated as far as the 2004 season is concerned. I love my Tigers, but to be honest, I didn’t see a lot Saturday night that would lead me to believe otherwise. The two teams LSU had problems with last year—Florida, to whom they suffered their only loss, and Georgia—both host LSU in their home venues this season. If this was the same team from last year, I wouldn’t be worried. This isn’t the same team from last year.

I have never understood the recruitment and grooming of Marcus Randall as quarterback. Randall has never inspired confidence in his teammates, or the fans. Most of the time he has this deer-in-the-headlamps look on his face. His first-half performance was so bad that Coach Nick Saban had to put redshirt freshman JaMarcus Russell in to the game for the second half, and that poor kid was so keyed up he kept getting leg cramps and back spams. Yes, the Tigers sorely miss Matt Mauck, who, while not the athelete Russell certainly is, had all the leadership qualities one looks for in a quarterback. Randall has had three seasons to pick up on those qualities, and has failed to deliver time and again. Russell might grown in to the leader that LSU needs, but that will only come through playing time the Tigers cannot afford to give.

And that may be the problem with the 2004 LSU Tigers. Too many seniors gone, not enough left. Too many freshmen and sophomores on the squad, not enough juniors to balance it out. This happens in college football. Unlike the professional game, where players can be locked in to multi-year contracts, college football is transient, and it is coaching systems that continually win championships. Such systems, however, do demand certain types of personnel year after year, and LSU simply may not have said personnel this year.

So the Tigers win their first game, despite the fact that they shouldn’t have, and will lose their #3 spot in the BCS rankings. The AP poll already has them at #6, which, quite frankly surprises me. If the Coaches’ Poll puts them in roughly the same area, I expect they’ll end up at 6 or 7 on the BCS. In my mind, they probably don’t deserve to be in the Top 10 right now. It’s only the first game of the season. It’s only one game. But it could be the one game that determines how far LSU goes in the post-season, and whether they will play for another BCS title.

posted by retrophisch at 11:33 AM
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