Thursday, September 29, 2005


And now, the rest of the story

So the Wife sent a strongly worded letter off to the manager of the local Fleet Feet. I don't want to give away too much, but let's just say capital letters were involves and leave it at that. Turns out, they were listening. The manager of Fleet Feet wrote back a very apologetic letter and expressed a desire to re-acquire our business and even offered to send along a gift certificate as a means of apology.

Hard to stay mad when the people turn all nice. Apparently the sales people involved in "the incident" have been spoken to and everyone over there acknowledges that they were in the wrong.

So yes, the customer service that day was terrible, but Fleet Feet will now get another chance. If nothing else, they have said that they aim to please, and so now we will go and make sure their actions mirror their words.

And that, folks, is the rest of the story.


A Letter from the Wife

Below is a letter from the Wife regarding the service we received at the Fleet Feet on North Ave here in Chicago. I can vouch for the fact that the customer sevice there was appalling and that, being a specialty store, it is generally a good idea to be polite. There is a limited pool of people to draw customers from so one probably doesn't want to drive off any potential customers. So below is the letter that she has posted on various running sites and a variation of this letter was sent to Fleet Feet management. The lesson as always: don't piss of my wife.

I am appalled at the customer service I got at my local Fleet Feet running store yesterday evening.

At the beginning of last week I went into the Fleet Feet in Chicago on North Ave to buy my shoes for the marathon. I figured with 3 weeks left to go until the race, I would have plenty of time to get them. The store didn’t have either my husband’s or my size in the shoe we were looking for, so they said that they would order them for us. They had hubby’s at another local store so they said they would be at the store in two days. For my shoes, they had to order them and said it would take a week. So I went into the store a week later because my husband’s shoes had come in (although a week later not two days like they said!). I asked about my shoes and after many looks in the back and then telling me that they would be in on October 15th (yes this is a week after the marathon I am running in), then took a closer look at the card with my information on it and said, “Oh, we just put that order in yesterday” So I asked them why then last week they told me they would be in in a week. Cashier lady said, “Well, we put our orders in on Mondays, it’s not my fault”

And. That. Was. It.

No apologies, no helping to see what other options there could be. Just pointing the finger at someone else and looking at me like I was crazy for thinking that a specialty running shoe store would be as helpful as possible in getting in what I need. How could I want a new pair of shoes for the marathon, I mean what is wrong with me!

It was absolutely the worst costumer service I have ever received. I mean I wasn’t shopping at the local Sport Mart or Sports Authority where some 17 year old is just there to look cool. They are a specialty running store and they did nothing to try and please the customer. Instead they did everything to get me out of the store as fast as they could. I worked at the local Sport Mart when I was 15 and I am now currently a physics graduate student and I know better sales behavior. I mean, I’m sorry but how hard is it to please the runner. We love our stuff: shoes, shirts, shorts, watches, sunglasses and so on. A little bit of help goes a long way in my book. Now Fleet Feet has lost both my business and my husbands’ business. You do the math….shoes alone would have been roughly 600 dollars a year. Plus, who knows who else I can contact though the few channels that I know.

I am still out to find a better store and stopped by Universal Sole on Lincoln Ave and they seem to be on the task of finding the shoes I am looking for. Hopefully they will come through for me and get the shoes I am looking for so I don't have to run in shoes that will have way over 300 miles on them. This is a bad situation and I just want to warn those that read this site to try their best to find another shoe store so they don't have to have this kind of problem in the future.

*Update. I found three other running stores in Chicago that were very willing to help me out. I ended up finding the shoes I needed in my size at Running Away at 1753 N. Damen in Wicker Park. Just goes to show that Fleet Feet is not in fact the heaven of running stores and there are plenty of places to buy shoes. The people at Running Away were very friendly and so thanks to them for the help.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Fool me once, shame on you

Fool me twice and...Maddux loses a streak.

Okay, so the saying isn't really all that relevant in this case, but it has the word twice in it and that is all I needed out of my saying today. Because, you see, I did it to Maddux twice. Twice I mentioned that he needed a win to continue his lifetime achievement streak, and twice he blew it.

Sorry Greg.

In other news...

Jamie Rieger Productions, the burgeoning corporate entity that includes both its namesake and his child labor ("I said funnier! Move you impudent whelps; the classics won't read themselves!") has returned from vacation and is kicking it up a notch. While reading the Iliad and Odyssey was all well and good, there was something missing. You see, while the epics of Homer are all very nice and ancient, they are not obscure enough. It is this missing element that is captured with the reading of Herodotus (wha? Yeah, that's what I said). So if you're looking for a snarky interpretation of a really old book you've never heard of, head on over and check it out. I doubt you'll be disappointed (although I have no way to prove this).

And, of course, there is always the daily update. Today he takes on Mothman. Very excellent with a cartoon and everything!

And finally...

Those of you who know me know I have a thing for the Giant Squid (not that there's anything wrong with that). I find it fascinating because it's sort of a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a whole lot of salty water. And it can take on a killer whale, which is something I always find impressive. But for the first time ever the Giant Squid has been captured on film and if you saw the Discovery Channel epic series "Search for the Giant Squid" you know they had tried really hard for a long time with little luck to get one on camera. Actually, if you saw the show, you know the show would have been better titled "The Failed Search for the Giant Squid, Unless you Count the Fact that we have a Bunch of Dead Squid on a Table." I think they kept the shorter name because it was a bit zippier.

Anyway, here is a great quote from the article:

Mori said the squid, which was purplish red like smaller squid, attacked its quarry aggressively, calling into question the image of the animal as lethargic and slow moving.

"Contrary to belief that the giant squid is relatively inactive, the squid we
captured on film actively used its enormous tentacles to go after prey," Mori said.

Oh, I feel better. You see, this is why I don't go into the ocean. Giant Squid. Giant Squids (Squid? Squids? Squi?) that are 25 feet long and attack aggressively. Actually, that is also why I don't like to swim in the middle of lakes, but that is probably an irrational fear. Although in my defense, you can't see the bottom of the lake and so there is no reason that there couldn't be some kind of giant squid lurking at the bottom. Or maybe a Kraken. You never know.

Who could have known the Giant Squid would be both huge and aggressive? Jules Verne, that's who. He had seen the future, and it was squid-tastic

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Prolonging the Streak, Part II

With his back against the wall, Maddux will once again attempt to stretch his streak of consecutive 15 win seasons to 18 in a row. Go Go Greg!

In other news...

Demspter would like to stay with the Cubs

And who wouldn't? Dempster fancies himself a loyal individual and wants to come back and help the team that gave him a chance reach the promised land. Honestly, I'd be pretty happy about this just so we don't have to hear about a closer battle in spring training. If there is magic closer pixie dust, it seems Dempster has a pocket full as he has managed to convert 31 out of 33 save opportunities this year, one of the better marks in the league. Hopefully having an "established closer" next year will allow all the other relievers to "settle into their rolls" and "not suck." Here's hoping.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Cubs are out of it

This is news?

No, not really, but I just wanted to mention that the Cubs are really, for real out of it. And I have the math to prove it.

This was a sad, sad season. For whatever reason, my hopes were relatively high going into this season. I knew we had a major hole is left field, but that seemed like the only place the Cubs were particularity deficient. Who knew Corey would be that bad. And actually, Hollandsworth and Dubois were both a bit worse than I expected. Seriously, the Cubs' outfield was just awful...really, really ridiculously awfully bad.

But a few words in Hendry's defense:
There's more, but the point is that this season just didn't go well. And the fall from grace was all aided by some horrible managing by Johnny B. Baker. When all these things are combined together you get a team that had no chance by July.

Starting in the offseason, this blog will become "Wait 'til next year" central and I will be taking a look at what the Cubs have, what holes they have to fill, and who might fill them. As always, hope springs eternal.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


News and Notes Around Sports

Maddux goes for it

So today is the first game of three in which Maddux will try to extend his streak of 15 win seasons to an even more record'y 18. If he wins tonight, he still has a shot. If not, it is going to be pretty challenging to fit in another start for him without jeopardizing the space-time continuum. So everyone root for Maddux tonight because, while the streak is not terribly meaningful, it is terribly nifty.

Colts and Bears

The mighty offense versus the mighty, in theory, anyway.

I made a snide comment to my brother (also a Colts fan) that I was going to be taking a nap last week after my 20 mile run and that the Bears' offense was especially conducive to napping (3 and outs get old after awhile). But the Bears robbed me of my needed rest as they put on a Coltian display of offensive power while at the same time maintaining a brilliant defense. Who can sleep when in the presence of greatness.

On the flip side, I had gamecast going to follow the Colts and Peyton Manning who looked like the Bears during the worst of the Jonathan Quinn era (mighty defense included). Are the Colts suddenly a defense-minded team? Are the Bears the perfect team?
Human sacrifice...dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!
I'm pretty sure time will sort this out, though. Manning is unlikely to continue his slump for much longer. On the Bears' end, however, if the defense continues to give them an average starting position on the 41, the Bears' offense may continue to be above average. And an above average offense to go along with the Bears' killer defense would pretty much guarantee a playoff birth. Which would be sweet. Having the Colts and Bears both make the playoffs would be the best possible situation for this Indianapolis fan living in Chicago.

17 days until the Marathon


Wednesday, September 21, 2005


My Evil Neighbors horrible, teeth-gnashingly evil neighbors.

I have learned to hate my neighbors. Before I just thought they were stupid stoners who I could easily enough ignore, but now I know differently.

They are evil.

They are hateworthy.


Starting Wednesday, I began to develope some sort of mouth pain. At first I thought it might be caused by my wisdom teeth cutting into my gums, or something caught back there, or little gnomes poking at my molars...something like that. I wasn't quite sure what the problem was, but I definitely wished the stupid, useless wisdom teeth would just go ahead and evolve away already. Now I think that maybe I strained my jaw or something because it really just hurt when I chewed and got better after I rested my jaw for a bit. But really, the cause of the pain is irrelevant. The point is it hurt like hell at night. And so Wednesday night I slept very little. I did lots of:
but very little actual sleeping. So by the time Thursday night arrived I was very, very tired.

Middle Story:

(this is where the action happens)

It's now Thursday night. So what you should go ahead and imagine is that I am trying to fall asleep through lots and lots of pain (tossing, turning, moaning...can you picture it?). I can't find any way to get comfortable and my jaw is killing me. Finally, about 11 o'clock (maybe that's early to you, but I get up before sunrise) I figure out that my jaw doesn't hurt if I let my mouth hang open like a 12 year old seeing his first Playboy. Maybe not the best look, but the pain was not so bad like this and I finally fell asleep.

So this is me:


when I get woken up at 2 am by screaming and laughing. Ha ha, no problem guys, I'm hip. It's just a bunch of kids having a good time, except that it sounds like it's in my kitchen. My evil, evil neighbors are having a party (and on a school night!) and it has drifted over to our side of the porch (because, you see, like with most Chicago apartments, we share a porch). And so now the Wife and I are unwittingly hosting a party that we weren't invited to.

So I turn on the lights to put some pants on (I think bad things would happen if I yelled at the girls while pantless), but as soon as I turned on the lights they scuttle away like little cockroaches. And so that problem was solved. Or so I thought...

(dun dun dun)

(that was my representation of dramatic music)

I went back to bed, got all settled in and tried to get the cat to stop being annoying. Finally, about a half hour later, the cat stops head butting me and purring and I can get some sleep. I almost drift off and...

gah! One of the jackasses going to the party rang our door buzzer from downstairs. My thoughts were murderous, to be sure. It was going on 3 am, the alarm was set for 4:30, and I had yet to get any sleep. Gah!

End Story:

The upshot of all this is I hate my neighbors and they are evil. They spend all their day smoking pot and drinking and somehow still have money enough to pay rent on a $1300/month apartment. And I know for a fact that they only work part time. I guess it pays to have rich parents in Schaumburg. Or maybe it just turns out that dealing pays better than graduate school.



Sunday, September 11, 2005


Writing and Running

Or maybe that should be, "Running and not writing."

I am very aware that I haven't been writing anything in the past couple of weeks. The problem is, I haven't had any thoughts in my head. Usually I can just sit down and write something. Maybe about the current events or maybe about something stupid happening in my life. Or maybe about the Cubs. But, unless I'm missing something, the Cubs suck and the current events all revolve around this really big hurricane, and there is nothing fun to write about either disaster.

That just leaves my life. Which is fine, don't get me wrong. But right now it is all marathon all the time. If I'm not running I'm reading about running. Or I'm exhausted. Actually, I'm pretty often completely exhausted, and this makes it really hard to write.

But there is only one more week of hard training until the taper. Oh baby, come on taper!

Maybe then I'll have a thought or two in my head and a couple of them will make it onto the web. Until then, if you are interested, feel free to follow my running progress on my training blog.

If you want something awesome to read, take a look at He has been on the ball recently. His current entry Salad Days is really great.

Oh, and Go Colts!!

(and Bears)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


What's that bitter taste? Must be...

We're talkin'...Fermiball.
From coasts right to left.
Experiments D0 and CDF('t).

I think it was said best in an e-mail I received regarding the playoffs:

Evil will always triumph over good, because good is dumb.

And let me tell you this, my friends, there is nothing more evil than abusing the sacred tradition of Fermiball.


Not even Nazis.

(Okay, maybe Nazis. But nothing else, dammit!)

I mean, just think of the children. Won't someone please think of the children?!?

What are we going to tell little Suzy and Johnny McInnocent playing sandlot Fermiball, fighting over who gets to be the Experimental Particle Physicist and who has to be the Theorist. Are we going to tell them that Fermiball is a tainted game? Would you want to be the one to tell them that? Hmmm?? Yes Virginia, there was a Santa Claus, but I killed him and peed on his bloated corpse?

I would like to think not. I would like to think that Fermiball remains the last pure sport. A game that lives and dies on skill and skill alone, a gentleman's game. Some, however, have no problem befouling the deceased. To each their own, I guess.

It seems that nothing should be simpler. There are 6 teams and a double elimination tournament. Each team fields a team of ten players, but to be eligible for the playoffs, one has to play at least 2 games during the season. This is to prevent teams loading up during the playoffs to claim the coveted championship.

Turns out, this is easy enough to circumvent. Final Force, your 2005 Fermiball Champions, found that it is easy enough to abuse the spirit of the rules as long as you adhere to the letter. Their "goons" all managed to fit in two games during the season to qualify for the playoffs, but had to miss the other 8. So Final Force ended up forfeiting many of their games for lack of players, ending up with the same record as the d0nuts. But believe you me, their playoff team was not the same caliber as the d0nuts (they were better, in case that wasn't clear).

But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Why exactly could half their team not make the regular season games? Maybe it's because they were too busy with their professional softball and semi-pro baseball leagues!! Final Force stacked their team with ringers. In Fermiball!!! Seriously!

And believe me, I have no problem with having semi-pro players on your team. All the better teams have one or two. Hell, the d0nuts' third baseman/shortstop also plays semi-pro baseball and one of the Boomers is a very good pitcher on a semi-pro team. But I have no problem with this because they play every game. Hence, they are not ringers and the sanctity
of Fermiball is preserved (as well as common decency).

The game itself was a complete travesty. Their pitcher was throwing a gem of a game. In my first AB, I managed to make very solid contact, but I lined it right to the shortstop. After that, there was nothing good coming from the general vicinity of my bat, and really nothing good coming from the batters box at all when the d0nuts were at the plate. On the other end, however, Final Force was having few problems picking us apart. They had little trouble making contact and we helped them out plenty by throwing the ball around whenever we got the chance. I was at third and one could say I had a rough day defensively. The Wife was over at second and was getting eaten up by line drive after line drive (not to mention players sliding into her at second with a 15 run lead). I'm still not sure if all her bruises have gone away.

How bad was it? After 5 innings, we were trying to argue that the game should be over by the mercy rule. But no, true to character, Final Force showed no mercy. They were the Cobra Kai to our Daniel San, and they wanted to keep on wailin'. It seems there is no mercy rule in the playoffs. The only rule is:

Strike first, Strike hard, Show no mercy!

In case you were wondering about my views regarding Euthanasia? Let me just say, if I didn't support it then, I sure do now. Dr. Kevorkian, you're all right!

So the season didn't end well. That was our first loss of the double-elimination playoffs, but the second quickly followed two days later as we dropped our game to the Isotopes. I wasn't able to make that game, but somehow I doubt I would have been the difference-maker.

Looking at the positives, we started the season 1-4 and finished 5-5. It could be best described as a meteoric rise to mediocrity. I cemented my reputation as an all-hit, no field player although my lack of power saps some of my value. I'm sort of the Wade Boggs of Fermiball (including my many stints at third) except that I don't fancy myself the Great White Hunter. I have killed neither Hippopotamuses nor Lions and odds are I never will. Plus I can't grow a decent moustache.

In the end, we ended up third behind the Isotopes and Final Force. Final Force takes home the Championship. Congratulations, Final Force, you have won the Fermiball title. I'm glad a bunch of semi-pro players were able to beat a team of physicists at softball. Really and truly an accomplishment of which they can be proud.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Science Fair to win. I'm going to kick some 7th grade ass.

Yes, We're talkin'...Fermiball.
Softball by the Ring.
Hitting and Fielding for the Championship Bling


Fermiball: Table of Contents

What is Fermiball?

Fermiball is an exercise in optimizing limited physical resources in an attempt to minimize the ultimately inevitable humilation that occurs when physicists attempt to play softball.

Below you will find the ongoing adventures of one such physicist (me, obviously) as he attempts to make the leap from darling of the intellectual world to giant of the athletic world.

Week One: d0nuts vs. Lightening Rods
Week Two: d0nuts vs. The (evil) Isotopes
Week Three: d0nuts vs. Final Force
Week Four: d0nuts vs. Lightening Rods (redux)
Week Five: d0nuts vs. Isotopes (again, redux)
Week Six: d0nuts vs. Final Force (part deux)
Week Seven: d0nuts vs. EuroTrash
Week Eight: d0nuts vs. Boomers
Week Nine: d0nuts vs. EuroTrash (playoffs, baby!)
Week Ten: d0nuts vs. Boomers
Week Eleven: d0nuts vs. Final Force

That's all folks


Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Sorry to not post

I've been busy recently and I really haven't had anything to say. There is a solid chance that by tomorrow I will have something of some value to contribute to the world.

Not a guarantee, but at least a reasonable chance.

We'll see.

No promises.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


News on the Cubs' new acquisition

...from the Bahamas!

I have these g-mail daily news alerts, and one is set to the Cubs (shocking, I know). And generally, I find this to be a waste of my time and inbox, but occasionally it comes through with something interesting. Like today, I check my inbox and there is a link to an article from The Bahama Journal on Angelo 'Jello' Burrows, one of the players acquired for Todd Hollandsworth.

Burrows is from the Bahamas and the article has some quotes from his family and discusses the trade from Burrow's perspective.

Interestingly enough, when you focus and entire article on a guy, he ceases to be just a "throw in."

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?