Friday, September 27, 2002

This week I've been forced to become an expert on Redhat Linux. On Wednesday afternoon, a Linux server I set up a year ago got the Slapper worm, and brought down our Internet e-mail (since the Linux server and Internet e-mail systems were on the same data circuit, and the worm traffic overwhelmed the circuit). I spent most of Thursday reinstalling Linux and configuring the server. Today I downloaded new versions of server components and figured out how to compile them so I could install them. It turns out that you have to install the compiler program first, before you can compile. Seems simple enough, except that the installation file for one component is dependent on three other components, which are in turn dependent on two others. It took me three or four hours to get everything compiled and installed, and then I still had to copy files to the right places to make everything work. But so far, so good. I still don't like the OS that much, since it has all sorts of quirks that predate DOS and arcane commands that require years of study to master. There's a Unix guru here who's been helping me, and his ability to remember and execute these long commands in the terminal still astounds me. Any time I have to deal with anything Unix-related, I think of this guy. Our Unix admin isn't much like him, but he does have an attitude.

I've always known that I suck at sports. I've never been able to play anything involving a ball well enough to avoid the barbs and jibes of my opponents, teammates, and friends. I could throw a decent spiral in my youth, though only 20 yards or so. I can't play any baseball-related sport to save my life, and if my life were involved in the contest, it would be easier for me to submit to whatever grisly death was in store for me and save my tormentors some time. I'm a little better at video game sports, but other than minor victories over the computer, I can't remember a single game where I defeated a human opponent. Sometimes I was able to keep the score close, but I think I lost nearly all the time. Now, it turns out I suck at fantasy football. I can't even succeed at a completely fake sport only tangentially related to an actual contest. Nearly everyone on my team is underachieving this season, so while prior to the season you might have thought I'd have a decent shot at competing, over the first three weeks of the season I've got one of the worst teams in our league. I can attribute most of my team's shortcomings to the disappointing play of my quarterback, Daunte Culpepper. The experts predicted he'd be one of the top five fantasy football QBs this season, but so far, he's kept pace with Trent Dilfer and Mark Brunell (my backups), two guys who no one listed as must-have players. I gave up Priest Holmes to get Culpepper, and this trade will come back to haunt me personally this weekend, as I face the team to whom I traded Holmes. I also gave up Peyton Manning to get Holmes, and while at first that seemed like a decent move, the longer Culpepper goes without finding his rhythm, the better Manning looks. I have one decent receiver (Derrick Mason), one good RB (Charlie Garner), an excellent kicker in Olindo Mare, and Jeremy Shockey at TE. Everyone else on my roster could be traded without much pain or consequence. I'm hoping to score enough points this weekend to contend, then maybe swing a trade with someone else for a better QB or WR. Or both. One more bad week and it's basically all over for me. The most frustrating thing about the game is that it's all guesswork. I can look at the stats and see how well someone played last season, or last week, but my game is dependent on how each guy performs on Sunday (or Monday), and there's no guarantee that anyone's stellar performance last week will repeat this week against a different team. I guess that's why you play the game. I'd have won my matchup last week if Isaac Bruce had somehow been injured before he took the field, but once he caught a pass, he earned a point for my opponent, who beat me by just a few points. Maybe I'll get lucky this week and someone will kneecap Priest Holmes before kickoff, and poison Ricky Williams's pregame meal.

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