June 7, 2001

Good Sports


Yesterday evening I actually did something (for entertainment) other than go online.

I watched the NBA final basketball game. (Game 1, Lakers vs Sixers)

I'm not up on all the details of the strategy of basketball but I know enough to have fun watching.

I'd like to see the Lakers lose, just because.

Not that it matters in the universal scheme of things; lately I've been using sports more and more as an escape mechanism. It's a much simpler world on the basketball court, the tennis court or the golf course etc.

There are good guys and bad guys and simple plot lines:
Why was Koby so ineffective?
Was Shaq really leaning on the other guy in order to jump higher?
How DOES Phil Jackson create such powerhouse teams anyway? Is it really Zen?

When all else fails, I can contemplate the tattoos.

The most entertaining part of the game, for me, was watching the Lakers' Lue guarding Iverson. They're both little guys compared to the others - each only six feet tall. They have similar builds and moves, and Lue adopted Iverson's braided hair style. It was like looking at a mirror image of one person, only in a different colour uniform.

But the most entertaining part of the broadcast was the halftime show.
No inarticulate sweaty athletes.
No dry recaps.
Not even a cheerleader in sight.
What they did was, pipe into a live U2 concert in Boston.

U2????
I don't know what the connection is, or if there even is one.

It was fabulous.

I never got into U2 before but now they're top of my list of bands to investigate.

Which brings me to the next dilemma:
If I were a normal person, I'd simply download some of their songs from Napster and burn a CD to try it out.
After that I might burn more or actually purchase some of their albums.

I just can't bring myself to do it.

Part of the reason is, it's a hassle. My connection is 56K (in reality, about 47K) and an album would take hours.
I'd also have to decided what to download.. too much research!
There are also my moral objections to it. If I decided it was ok when it suited my purposes that would be too hypocritical!

I did attempt to find some kosher (legal) MP3s online but kept running into dead ends (and distractions!) It wasn't worth the trouble.

I'll probably end up buying a best-of CD or tape and if I like it, starting a collection. Unless someone wants to send me a dubbed cassette...

And this morning there was tennis.

Hingis and Capriati, semi-final French Open match.

The crowd loves to hate Hingis, after her hissy fit two years ago when she lost to Steffi Graf. Then, her mother had to drag her back out in tears for the awards presentation ceremony.

The French Open is the only Grand Slam Hingis has never won.
She won't win it this year - Capriati defeated her in straight sets.

There's a nice, clean simple plot line.

Capriati also had a problem with her knee partway through the first set, so there was some tension surrounding whether she could indeed play the match.
And of course there's her life story.. prodigy at 14, got derailed by drugs, made a comeback in her mid-20s. Gotta love it.

Breast Update:

I took it to the doctor, who pronounced it somewhat better. (It is but it still has an obvious problem.)

He wants to see it again after I'm finished with the antibiotics, "because it's a BREAST!" and maybe I should have a mammogram.

I had one last August, and if it comes to that I'd consult my specialist anyway; meanwhile there's no way I'm having a mammogram before this is totally healed up!
I'm not concerned about it - I've had similar episodes before and I'm still here. I will however take all precautions and do what they tell me to do.

Linque Du Jour: Cancer Research on Your Computer!

This is the logical (and practical) extension of Seti@Home, where people volunteered their computers (during inactive time) to analyze data from a space telescope.

I did that for awhile; it was fun.

This is a lot more.

This time the computers are to analyze molecules in the search for drugs to cure leukemia. It's the first of several planned projects of this type; and the idea is bound to spread into many other endeavours.

From the website:

The United Devices* cancer research program sponsored by Intel has been developed specifically to search for new drugs to treat leukemia and other cancers.
As a first step to finding new drugs and a potential cure for leukemia—the No. 1 cause of childhood death by disease— and other cancers, researchers must evaluate the cancer-fighting potential of hundreds of millions of molecules. NFCR scientists estimate that this task will require many millions of hours of number-crunching, which was previously unimaginable.
Linking computers... to this project will enable what could become the largest biological computation in history and produce faster results. Depending on the results of this program, the time required to develop a new treatment and drugs could be cut from twelve years to as little as five years.

I happened upon a news report about this on the very day it was opened up to the public this past April, and signed on immediately.

They have contests and drawings and rewards but as I live in Quebec I'm not eligible, due to laws concerning lotteries and prizes. I don't really care. It costs me nothing and I'd probably do it even if it did require a donation.

I've found that it doesn't slow down the computer as much as the Seti program did if I run it even when I'm active; but the work units are extremely variable in length, from a few hours to almost a week! It has to do with "long molecules" and they're working on it. As long as you don't let that bother you, it's very easy to use.

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