This page is no longer active

Da Blog has moved to Please update your bookmarks, links, and RSS readers.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A word for anyone who wants to see more than just a particular day's strip

Could you please make sure you have cookies turned on until further notice? Or at least have it set up so that Bravenet won't idiotically count it as a separate hit every time you look back through the archive? I swear, once SiteMeter gets this "multiple counters on one account" thing nailed down I will run away from Bravenet so fast it'll make your head spin...

The future of open-wheel racing

In the end, we all learned the number 1 rule of open-wheel racing: Don't bleep with the Indy 500.

Now that open-wheel racing in the United States is unified once again, the unified racing body can turn its attention to repairing the damage done by the Champ Car-Indy Car war. On that front, I have a few suggestions for what to do going forward:
  • Recognize that the war only helped NASCAR's rise, but was not solely responsible for it. NASCAR was arguably bigger than open-wheel racing even before the split, or at least before it really started punishing then-CART.
  • Decide right away whether or not you can take on NASCAR. If you think you can (and last year suggested NASCAR may be plateauing), be aware you may need a 10-year plan for it, and hope for NASCAR mistakes. Push what makes your sport distinct, run races in places NASCAR doesn't, and leverage the passion of the fans you have. If you don't think you can, focus on carving out a solid niche and consider running some races overseas. Either way, immediate financial solvency should be the immediate goal if you don't want to get absorbed into NASCAR.
  • Reclaim the North and West for yourselves. CART was more popular than NASCAR entering the 90s because NASCAR was a southern sport and IndyCar racing was popular in the north. The Kasey Kahnes and Jeff Gordons of the world should not be running off to NASCAR. Rebuild the infrastructure that was there before.
  • Marketability! You can attract eyeballs if you can market your drivers. You can keep drivers if you can create marketing opportunities for them. Plugging the hell out of the likes of Danica Patrick is your friend. But whoever your best drivers are, they should be appearing in advertisements and making other appearances if you want to even have a chance to keep them from jumping ship to NASCAR.
  • Either fix the problems that caused the split in the first place, or recognize that they are unfixable. The IndyCar series has fallen victim to many of the same problems that caused it to split from CART in the first place. The barriers to success for Americans are especially vexing because of how far open-wheel racing has fallen due to the war. Make it more affordable and try and find more American oval tracks. If you recognize they are unfixable, take steps to appropriate them for your own benefits, and work to overcome them.
  • Everything revolves around the Indy 500. I actually doubt Tony George wanted to "win" the war, only create a series to compete with CART. "Winning" and becoming the de facto open-wheel leader since about 2002 if not before only led to IndyCar inheriting CART's problems. But the Indy 500 is the only race that matters and, despite declining ratings as a result of the war, it is more than twice, if not three times, if not four times as popular than any other open-wheel race. Any effort to rebuild the sport must revolve around putting your mark on the Indy 500, and rebuilding its prestige. Daytona is one of the biggest races on Earth, but that it is more than twice as big as Indy is unacceptable.
  • ESPN is your friend - or at least it used to be. ESPN must be an equal partner in rebuilding open-wheel racing, since they, along with ABC, are showing your races. But they were probably more inclined to do so before they also started showing NASCAR races. Still, they need to plug their IndyCar broadcasts during NASCAR and generally plug that IndyCars are still here, they exist outside the Indy 500, and they're coming back.
  • Don't completely destroy what Champ Car left behind. Only a smattering of Champ Car events are on the 2008 schedule. That doesn't include some Champ Car events that were serving as the series' lifeline in its later days. Completely junking almost everything about Champ Car will only alienate its fans. And it may have had only a few fans, but you need all the open-wheel fans you can get to serve as a base to grow on!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Of course, this only matters to one person other than me.

I made a change to the webcomic that you probably won't - and shouldn't - notice. Previously, I had stored three variables in the metadata database: the strip number, the date, and a third field to preformat the date for display on the page, since I didn't know how to use PHP to format a date I was only allowed to enter in one format. Well, last night I figured out how to do just that and the date will now be automatically calculated from a field designed to store the date.

I don't know whether that will make it faster or slower. What I do know is I'm proud to have figured it out without trying to upgrade (or waiting for Freehostia to upgrade) PHP.

PS. I wrote the post below last night but my Internet started acting freaky at the worst possible time.

If you ever see me in person, remember...

I am the definition of someone who is not a people person. If I'm not actively doing something, my mind is constantly drifting off thinking about semi-random things that interest me. If I'm jolted out of this by things not being the way they should be in a perfect, ideal world - if I'm forcibly pointed towards an imperfection - this annoys me because a, I'm no longer focusing on my own thoughts, and b, I don't like imperfection.

I try to focus more in classrooms and to tune out more in broader public settings where I don't need to concentrate so much, but it kind of goes against my nature, or at least my hard-set habits.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Most. Overrated. "Dunk." Ever.

So I'm watching the NBA Dunk Contest and I see Dwight Howard put on a Superman getup and cape and try a dunk and everyone is proclaiming it the greatest dunk ever while the judges are giving it all 10s, and I'm thinking, How is it the greatest dunk ever WHEN IT WASN'T EVEN A DUNK?

So today I'm watching ESPN and I'm hearing that other people are pointing out it wasn't a dunk and I'm relieved that other people feel the same way I do. And just now I hear ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike on SportsCenter claiming it wasn't a dunk because it was somehow BETTER than a dunk!

And that snaps it into focus for me. No one's getting at my REAL problem with this "dunk". Namely, that even if it was a dunk it's not that great of one.

First, let's consider why it ended up not being a dunk. Namely, he doesn't quite fly enough to reach the rim, so he has to throw it the rest of the way and hope it goes in. He not-dunks it because he's not good enough to real-dunk it! Now, you might say he throws it with such force and power that that's what Mike and Mike meant by saying it was better than a dunk. You're entitled to your opinion. But WHEN YOU PUT ON A SUPERMAN CAPE IN A COMPETITION THAT REWARDS HIGH FLYING, I EXPECT TO BELIEVE YOU CAN FLY! IF YOU CAN'T EVEN REACH THE RIM, THE SUPERMAN CAPE HAS ONLY CREATED HIGHER EXPECTATIONS AND IS ACTUALLY A DETRIMENT TO MY OPINION TO YOU! IF YOU'RE GOING TO PUT ON A SUPERMAN CAPE THE LEAST YOU COULD DO IS ACTUALLY REACH THE RIM!

Second, let's say he DOES reach the rim and throw it down. Take away the Superman cape and what do you have? A rather pedestrian dunk! So far as I can tell he wasn't intending to do anything special with the ball. He was going to catch it, head up to the rim, and dunk it. It's essentially the basic alley oop with a running start. There is no way that cuts it in the dunk contest! That's about as basic a dunk as you can have when you have someone passing you the ball! That's not worthy of all 10s by a long shot!

(By contrast, how does Gerald Green's cupcake dunk not only fail to get all 10s from the judges, but actually receive an EIGHT from Darryl Dawkins? Darryl's a hater! Darryl's a hater!)

Also, TNT is owned by Time Warner. Superman is owned by DC Comics which is owned by Time Warner. I don't think that's a coincidence. At the very least it helps explain why the "dunk's" shortcomings were ignored entirely by the TNT crew. I guarantee you that if he'd put a Spiderman costume on, the TNT crew would not be creaming themselves nearly as much over the "dunk".