knox snooze

Succotash my Balzac, dipshiitake.

UT math

Monday, March 28
UT has finally announced that their new Men's Basketball Coach is Bruce Pearl. He comes from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and he's had a great deal of success has a coach.

He is not, however, Bob Knight, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, or Eddie Sutton. Don't tell that the the UT Athletic Department, though. Their site lists Pearl as the second-fastest coach in Division I to reach the 300 win plateau; ahead of Knight, Sutton, and Boeheim, and trailing only Roy Williams. That's good company. If only it was true. Those four other coaches won 300 games in Division I, but Pearl spent his first 9 seasons (and 231 wins) at D-II power Southern Indiana.

He's a great coach. He might even crack the fastest five coaches to 300 wins, but he sure ain't there yet. How's about we keep expectations in the ballpark for at least a couple months with this one?

This just goes to show what a hell of a coach Pat Summitt is. You don't have to doctor her numbers one bit, and she still comes out nearly three times ahead of where the UT Athletic Department would like you to think Pearl is.

Easter Funday

Today is the day that all of the Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs go on sale for like 18 cents.

Don't pretend you're not excited.


Thursday, March 24
I've become oddly obsessed with hacks and mods in the last week or so. Maybe it's because they're so damn sweet.

This is one of the best I've seen so far. Sure, it lacks the ubersmall form factor element that everybody likes, but if you're going to mod, you might as well have a little artistic style. The label is a nice touch.

Now all it needs is a pre-loaded Atari 2600 emulator and a Space Invaders ROM to make the foolishness complete.

I bet a 2600 cartridge would make a decent enclosure for a notebook hard drive.

I finded this via Gizmodo

Why Red

Wednesday, March 23

Why Red
Originally uploaded by ashby.

The new issue of WIRED magazine just got here. Now I have to choose between wasting time on the intarweb or with my shiny new magazine.

It's gonna be tough, but I'll manage.

Bring me...a shrubbery!

Monday, March 21
I planted a hedge yesterday. A freaking hedge. It's sweet. Japanese Compact Holly, which sounds like a hilarious Engrish sentence.

I am so damn horticultural it makes my leaves hurt.


Friday, March 18

Originally uploaded by ashby.

So, you're just minding your own business, getting ready for a midterm, and your best friend let's you in on a little secret.

He's about to be a husband and a father.



Oddest spam subject line today

"This is the best darn tomato I have ever tasted."

That's right. And tomato is not a euphamism. Yet.

The thrill of victory, the agony of Senate hearings

Thursday, March 17
Since I can't be in front of a TV watching them, I'm keeping up with the NCAA tourney and the Senate hearings on steroid use in baseball online. So far, the hearings are killing me. I'm not very familiar with Senate protocol, but I hope that there isn't always this much speechmaking and posturing before every hearing. If there is, it's no wonder they can't get jack done.

Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) is a hall-of-famer, so he gets a little leeway in this, but I still haven't figured out where the national crisis is in this whole situation. The MLB has some anti-trust exemptions, so I guess that means the Senate gets to tell them how to do things. I can understand they expect the MLB to be run honestly and according to the laws of the land, but some of the things they're covering so far are way, way out in left field. Left field in a different park, actually.
"If they started in 1992 or 1993 illegally using steroids, wipe all of their records out," Bunning said. "Take them away. They don't deserve them. Go ask Henry Aaron. Go ask the family of Roger Maris. Go ask all of the people that played without enhanced drugs if they would like their records compared with the current records."
I can appreciate his nostalgia for the old guard, and I even think a valid point is being made about their records, but how does this fall within his jurisdiction as a Senator? While I know it is controversial, and that things like the removal of Maris' asterisk took way too long, I hope that the editing of the MLB record book does not require an actual act of congress.

At least Bunning is talking about action. It looks like every other Representative, Senator, victim and "expert" has done nothing but chatter up the dangers of steroids. "Steroids Bad. Congress Smash." We know the dangers. We know kids look up to pro ballplayers. We're all ticked off at Jose Canseco, even if he telling the truth, because he's such a freaking tool who can't accept absence of the spotlight with dignity. Kind of like some congressmen, perhaps.

I can actually hear my tax dollars crackling up in flames.

Is it racket or raquet?

Academia is a sweet gig, if you can get it. Not only do you get huge chunks of time off work for holidays and breaks, but you also might have the chance to pursue a wildly trivial curiosity. You know, as a career. For example, today, you might want to take in this colloquium offered by the math department:
TIME: 3:35 p.m.
ROOM: 214 Ayres Hall
SPEAKER: Associate Professor Tim Schulze
TITLE: Pentominoes

Pentominoes are generalizations of the more familiar dominoes and tetras. In this case, five square tiles are arranged adjacently to form shapes that present the tempting and potentially addictive possibility of fitting them neatly into a rectangular region. Despite the challenge this presents when considered as a sort of jigsaw puzzle, there are a large number of solutions. This talk will discuss an algorithm to determine all of the ways the pentominoes can be fit into a given rectangular region.
This is, of course, a perfectly legitimate lecture that will be treated in an academic and intellectual manner that is likely way the hell beyond what I am capable. But face it, some part of Dr. Schulze has got to be hoping no one really catches on to the fact that he has played A LOT of dominoes to get where he is now.

Better living through better board games, I always say.

Or better pogo sticks.

Back to school

Bobby Knight responded to the rumors that he is interested in the Men's Basketball coaching position at Tennessee. He's not so good on the grammar, but pretty clear on the message. That's a no, junior. Let's review:
1) Make it clear you are not going to UT - check
2) Insult a reporter in classic form - check
3) Insult UT in new and painful ways - check
That's right, not only did he make it clear that he is not headed to Knoxville, but he made it clear that he - who, despite his faults, loves the game and coaching as much as anyone - would quit coaching to avoid the job at Tennessee.

We make Bobby Knight not want to coach basketball. Soak that up.

And you thought Roy Williams didn't like us.

Peer-to-peer, old school

Wednesday, March 16

Why are these women so freaking happy? peerflix.

Have you heard of peerflix? It's been around awhile, but I like to stay behind the times, so I'm just discovering it. And since this is my blog, it's new, dammit.

This plan/program/site/club may be the poster child for consumer persistence and ingenuity. It's just I wonder if the MPAA, Blockbu$ter and Netflix will hold hands and file a suit against the postal service for their complicity in this scheme. It is, after all, the file delivery method that is to blame. Right?

For some reason, I'm reminded of the scene in Zoolander when Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are confounded by the fact that the files are in the computer.

"They're in the computer?" the files are on the DVD? Wild.

So, yeah, peerflix is kind of a ripoff for now (for me, at least), but an actual, factual, cheap network can't be far away.'s just "alternative"

Jeep has introduced the new diesel version of their mid-size SUV, Liberty. The promotional site for the CRD (Common Rail Diesel) line touts the economical and environmental benefits of a diesel. But the passes they make at its potential environmental benefits are a little disappointing. If you click on the "ENVIRONMENTAL" tab, the screen displays a lame animation of a misty canyon and unfurling leaves, and a scroll unrolls to reveal the environmental benefits of the CRD.
Using alternative fuels helps reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by consuming less fossil fuel overall versus a comparable gasoline engine.
Nevermind the rhetorical retardation in this blurb, it's annoying that they won't just come out and say biodiesel. It's easy. Hell, it's fun.


See? Instead, I think most visitors to the site may leave with the mistaken impression that traditional diesel (evil, smelly, baby-killing diesel) fuel is an environmentally friendly alternative fuel source. Which it is not, by the way. Especially at a clip of 26 miles per gallon.

Bio. Diesel. Biodiesel.

Impressing everyone

Chris Low's column in today's Tennessean is very revealing. Not so much because it's clear that Buzz thought he was coming back, but because it's now clear that he never had a shot.
Peterson said he found out in Atlanta on Saturday that Hamilton had hired a search firm and was told it had been contacting potential candidates for up to three weeks. Hamilton announced at his news conference on Monday that he'd hired the Los Angeles-based Champ Sports firm to help him identify candidates.
It is understandable that Hamilton would put out some feelers to get an idea of interest in the UT job before a final decision was made, but one would hope that he could do this more himself, rather than contracting an outside firm. There is too much of an air of finality about hiring Champ Sports to accept that they were just checking things out, you know...just in case.

And for anyone who might still be holding onto the idea that another from the Dean Smith basketball family will be interested in coming here, think again. Roy Williams, the acting patriarch of the clan, and the leader of a current number one seed in the NCAA tournament, found the UT situation worthy of his time and his scorn.
"It's a difficult situation, I guess six coaches in the last 16 years, so it's not like it's exactly the greatest job in the world," Williams said. "They've got to make their own decisions. But when you read articles that it was because of attendance, concessions and souvenir sales … I really didn't know basketball coaches were responsible for how much dadgum popcorn is sold."
Maybe we should consider ourselves lucky that he wasn't pissed off enough to start dropping bleeps on us.

how we roll

Tuesday, March 15
My buddy Benny and I were talking about the Tennessee Men's Basketball coaching vacancy yesterday. We are both a little upset about the way that Buzz was handled, but this does seem like UT's chance to bring in a great coach. I emailed Benny yesterday about some of the prospects, and this is what we came up with. You know, because everyone wants to know what we think.

Bobby Lutz - UNCC

Why we'll get him: Bigger school, better conference, more money, and a chance to turn an underacheiver into a national contender - be the savior of UT.

Why we won't: He's a UNCC man - graduate, asst. and head coach. He has a contract that runs through 2009, and he's entrenched in the community. He calls UNCC his dream job, and he was named the Carolinas' Father of the year in 2002...meaning he wants to stay put for family's sake.

Jeff Lebo - Auburn

Why we'll get him: UT is where he wanted to be four years ago, and he could prove that he was the better choice all along. He's been working his way to Knoxville for a while (Tennessee Tech, UTC). And, of course, we'll give more money.

Why we won't: We snubbed him four years ago, and he's just in the first year of a contract at a big-time school. And the students love him - Lebo's Lunatics.

Mike Anderson - UAB

Why we'll get him: He's poised to take over a bigger program in a bigger conference, and coming to Knoxville wouldn't put him out of recruiting territory where he's already very effective. Oh yeah, and money.

Why we won't: Like Lutz, Anderson is back at home. He's from Birmingham, and he's been very successfull since returning three years ago. He is only 44 and has a pretty young family, including a grandchild, in Birmingham. Plus, I think there would be resistance among some alum and boosters about hiring an African-American coach.

Tom Crean - Marquette

Why we'll get him: We're probably going to move on to another college hoops "family," now that we've burned our bridges with the Dean Smith clan. Crean is Tom Izzo/Jud Heathcote, and that's almost as good. He's an X's and O's guy who needs a big-time school like UT to be able to bring in the best talent to run it. Playing Kentucky and Florida twice a year is the kind of challenge he wants.

Why we won't: More like why we shouldn't. Didn't we already hire this guy with a worse haircut a few years ago? Kevin O'Neill, is that you? He will not fit into the culture of Knoxville or the culture of being 3rd or even 4th priority on an AD's list.

Jamie Dixon - Pitt

Why we'll get him: It will have to be mostly money on this one. Knoxville has been compared favorably with Pittsburgh in the past, and college sports aren't forced to compete with MLB, NFL, and NHL (well, usually) teams here as they are in Pittsburgh.

Why we won't: He's got less than two years of head coaching experience, and Pitt is far and away the biggest program he's ever been at. Pitt just opened a brand new 12,000 seat arena that is custom-built for home-court advantage. They are 51-2 there with Dixon as coach. Also, this guy looks younger than me.

Gregg Marshall - Winthrop

Why we'll get him: He's from SC, so he won't have to move very far into a bigger school, conference and paycheck. He can still recruit the area he knows, and he can be "the" guy for UT for the next twenty years.

Why we won't: He's seen the revolving door at UT, and he won't be in any hurry to up and move a family with young children to Knoxville, just to move them again in four or five years. He is the hottest coach on the small-major market (4 trips to the dance and a 19+ win per season average), and he can write his ticket just about anywhere. I would expect him to move into a Penn State/Virginia position before UT.

Those are the top ones as listed by Chris Low of the Tennessean. He also mentions Dan Monsoon (Minn - why would he leave there for here?) and Frank Haith (Miami - 1st year at an ACC school), neither of whom I think are serious candidates.

And what about the others we could only dream about?

Phil Jackson - retired

Pro: Could recruit like no one's business. Can you imagine the allure of nine NBA championship rings to a McDonald's All-American who is unsure of whether to enter the draft? Plus, it would be a thing of beauty to see the zen-master's triangle run by his hand-selected few.

Con: There is no way in hell we will be able to lure that man from retirement. If we could (by some act of God), we would have to pay him in the ballpark of $5 million+, and you never know when he's going to decide he wants to retire back into full-time meditation.

Maurice Cheeks - Unemployed

Pro: Another former NBA coach with infinite appeal to blue-chip recruits. Mo is known as a player's coach, and would surely love the opportunity to coach a more civilized bunch than those he had in Portland.

Con: Again, with the money. He won't have to wait around too long for another NBA job to open up, and he'd probably be glad for the break and laying around-ness of a studio job with ESPN or TNT in the interim.

Jay Bilas - ESPN

Pro: He's got good pedigree as a Duke alum and protege of Coach K. He has been very visible as the ESPN college hoops guru, and would probably be a strong recruiter.

Con: He's been in a studio for five or more years. He may know the X's and O's of college hoops as well as anyone in the country, but he does not have a drop of college head coaching experience.

Steve Lavin - ESPN

Pro: He has run a big-time program at UCLA, and he is an extraordinary recruiter. After the way he was run out of LA on a rail, you know he's just been lying awake in bed at night, scheming up the perfect program for when he has a chance.

Con: He was run out of LA for a reason - unbelievable mediocrity. He got nothing out of amazing talent. Also, he always strikes me as somebody who spent the previous night drinking a little too hard. I don't know what it is - maybe it's the hair, or the way he just looks and sounds like a used car salesman.

Matt Doherty - Part-Time Game Commentator

Pro: He is an even more impressive recruiter than Lavin, and he has won at the very highest level of college hoops. He was unfairly treated at UNC, and the fruits of his labor are being enjoyed by Roy Williams and the baby blue nation right now.

Con: There were obviously personality issues that drove him away from Chapel Hill. Like Peterson, he enjoyed success at a few places, but never stayed more than three years to prove his system would work in the long run. He would probably see UT as a stepping-stone back into a bigger program like Wake Forest, Kansas, Kentucky or the like. Also, he is still loved by the Dean Smith faithful, and is likely not pleased with Buzz' treatment here.

Pat Summit - UTK Women

Pro: Quite possibly the best coach to ever roam the sidelines, men or women. She is already here, and you know that she's got to be hurting for the men's program. No one would command as much respect from the community or the rest of the university as PHS would.

Con: The obvious - she's a woman. How many true blue-chippers, no matter how oepn-minded our society has become, will choose to play their college ball for a woman? The men's and women's games are also still seen largely as different sports, and Pat has never coached men or against men before.

Rick Pitino - Louisville

Pro: Maybe the most dynamic college coach we've ever seen. He has been successful everywhere but with the Celtics. Also an unbelievable recruiter.

Con: He is in league with Satan - if he is not the unholy demon himself. Seriously, he eats babies. Would cost us approximately 11 gazillion dollars a year. And our immortal souls.

So that's the list as I see it now. There are a few others that seem like possibilities to me, but none as likely as the first group mentioned. We'll probably know who the next coach will be in about five weeks, and it will be someone mentioned here. The most important thing we can do is not make fools of ourselves and not get the guy everyone thinks we want to get. We have to keep guys like Lofton and Patterson around, and there are incoming guys to think about. Also, I think that hiring another four-and-out coach will be the end of Hamilton as well. It was the biggest blemish on Dickey's tenure here, and the natives are becoming a little tired of it - in case you couldn't tell by the outspoken support for Buzz by the holy triumvirate of UT's most successful - Pat Summit, Todd Helton, and Peyton Manning.

just a favor

Monday, March 14
I can appreciate the sensibility that says "let's reuse this" when the liquid soap is gone, but the dispenser is still perfectly good. Sure, it says "Kroger Liquid Hand Soap" on the side, and it has some fruity looking cartoon character on the bottle, but it's still good. Re-use, baby.

But please do not fill it with dish detergent. It is deceptively similar to hand soap, but different in important ways. For instance, a healthy dollop of soap rinses off nicely after a few seconds under the tap. Dish detergent, however, requires significantly more patience and effort. And I am short on both.

And if you continue to do this, don't go acting all surprised when your toilet foams like a bitch whenever you flush.

On wonders, and how they never cease

The first-rate MENSAphytes at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed some interesting new technology. This one manages to utilize the Sun for...get this...light.

It's actually pretty cool. But it's also kind of like discovering a way to convert water into a beverage.

I finded this via Gizmodo.

Free energy

Friday, March 11
Just came back from lunch. I walked to the sub shop again, enduring Mach 1 winds along the way. I think that officially counts as a workout. Sweet, I don't have to go to the gym tonight.

This the "Environmental Semester" at UT. That means, we don't really do things differently, but when we have speakers on campus, we ask them to talk about environmental stuff. You know, like air.

For instance, Al Gore and Howard Baker spoke on campus this week. Air experts, both. I think Gore actually has a PhD in

I want to do my part too, you know. That's why I've decided that the university should create its own electricity. My method? Harness the cold, soul-sucking power of the wind on the humanities plaza. I had to turn my head to the side to inhale as I walked across it. That's right, the wind was so strong that it was literally SUCKING AIR OUT OF MY BODY.

So, that's my plan. Harness the cold North Wind. Someone get on that.

Happy Birthday, DNA



Thursday, March 10
I think I'm going to start saying "boss" as an adjective. Just a heads-up, you know.

For example:
I'm about to build a totally boss home entertainment system.
See how well that works?

Spring is in the air

Wednesday, March 9

Things I really need to happen in order to have a happy and fulfilling Summer: JuanGon and Sizemore coming through like the badasses they can be.

Oh-for-two before yesterday. Now, maybe JuanGon will catch on.

Need more cowball

My belly is thick with white bread and meatballs from the new sub shop on the strip. It's been a long time since I had a meatball sub, and now I remember why. Something about the feeling of so much cow meat churning around in my gut slows me down for the rest of the day.

Soooo sloooooow.

And just for good measure, I had a peanut butter cookie. The kind that isn't cooked all the way. You know, the good kind.

Guess who's back

Tuesday, March 8
We moved back into Ye Olde House O' Broken Crapper last night. Toilet's good, floor is passable, but the tub enclosure still leaves something to be desired. Not that cementboard and thinset isn't a good look. It's just not as finished as my wife would like.

But I slept in my own bed last night. My. Own. Bed. Let me tell you how nice that is.

Um...very nice.

Sorry, that's all I've got.

The Fyoootcher

Invisibility Coat? Flying Car? Remote-Controlled Spy Chopper?

Dinosaur Robots?!

How am I supposed to not go to NextFest?


Thursday, March 3
So, the new toilet is leaking. We don't really know where the leak is, only that it is. Also, when Faith was toweling up the water, she noticed that grout came up with it too. And I was all like, "No, it didn't." And she said, "Yes it did. See, it's right here on the towel. You can feel --" and then I grabbed the towel, set it on fire and said, "I don't know what you're talking about." And then I wept.

To review, things I accomplished this weekend: grouted floor and installed toilet. Accomplishments rendered undone by mystery leak: Grrrrrr...

Well, at least I can find comfort in knowing that I've still got enough homework to keep me up all night. Oh, and we have no money.



Tuesday, March 1

Originally uploaded by ashby.

I sliced off my hairs this weekend. Feels all nubbly. A friend of mine at work now feels compelled to accost my scalp at least once a day. My hair, apparently, has the power to turn people gay. Careful.

It's too bad I can't trim my forehead down a little too. Look how big and shiny that damn thing is.