Rick's Ramblings

You have found Rick's Ramblings, a Web Log.

I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.

Thanks for visiting one of my creative outlets! Please send me an e-mail, or add a comment to any post.

More Rick Umali web sites at:

Yahoo! Geocities
Lycos Tripod
The World
My Own Domain

Email: rickumali@gmail.com

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Friday, November 09, 2001
Over the next few days, I'm going to be sending out a mass e-mail to those folks in my e-mail address book: my e-mail address is changing. My current e-mail address of rgu@world.std.com is being changed to rickumali@gmail.com (you can uncapitalize the "T" and "W" of TheWorld).

I've had world.std.com as my personal e-mail address since December of 1994. At the time, I had wanted to change jobs, and I felt that I needed a different e-mail address on my resume. Finally, I wanted a close-to-permanent home for my personal e-mail. I didn't want to ask people to remember my work e-mail address: just remember my personal e-mail account.

In the early 1990s, Barry Shein's Software Tool and Die (the "std" of world.std.com) was the only company offering public access UNIX accounts. And since I did everything with UNIX, it felt natural to sign up with The World as my Internet Service Provider (ISP).

I always felt that world.std.com had a certain Internet cachet. It's an old ISP. Certain Internet legends used it as their e-mail address. If hotmail.com and AOL were the fancy new ways to get on the Internet, World was the tony, sedate neighborhood full of Internet old-timers.

Times change though: "std" is too closely associated with "sexually transmitted diseases" (and who is impressed by 'software tool and 'die' anymore?). Plus two "dots" (world-dot-std-dot-com) is no longer vogue. "world.std.com" felt creaky. Enter "TheWorld.com". The times have caught up with my e-mail address. It's time to get with it.

Note: You can keep rgu@world.std.com in your address book. AFAIK, this will continue to be active.

Wednesday, November 07, 2001
I just finished skimming through Phil Agre's essay, Minor Annoyances and What They Teach Us. I've been enjoying his writing for a few months now, and this one takes the cake. A fantastic "rant" on a lot of things. Please enjoy it!

I actually watched a DVD tonight: Days of Heaven. For the past few nights, my television viewing has been largely sports.

Tonight's movie was a true cinematic film. The photography of this movie was brilliant. And the story was an intuitive one (two men love the same woman; trouble ensues). There were lots of scenes that were carried by gorgeous pictures and sound. Some of the lines were mumbled, or drowned out by the scenery. A gorgeous movie. One that truly would have popped to life on a real movie screen.

Tuesday, November 06, 2001


So the graduations hang on the wall
But they never really helped us at all
No they never taught us what was real
Iron and coke
And chromium steel
And we're waiting here in Allentown

(Billy Joel)

A few weekends ago, I had to drive Jenn's car, and she had a new CD on the passenger seat: Essential Billy Joel. Disc 1 was in the CD player. It has 18 tracks, including Captain Jack, The Entertainer, Say Goodbye to Hollywood, and Allentown. You could say I was transported back in time: each song brought back memories of the 80s, when everyone seemed to be listening to his stuff.

Of course, driving to work one day, I heard Allentown on a "morning drive-time" show, and Only the Good Die Young on a "commercial-free ten-in-a-row" set on the way home.

Billy Joel's music being fresh to me again, it brought to mind an episode of the Sopranos, in which young Christopher tries his hand at bank-rolling a music act, but the band is woefully inadequate in the studio. In a memorable line for me, the studio engineer chastises the group: "Where are the choruses? That's how you build a great song: great choruses."

Every one of the songs on that Billy Joel CD had an achingly familiar, even instinctive chorus. You knew what the words were, so ingrained are they in your cultural consciousness.

But even more hard-hitting are his lyrics, which seemed so trite back then (we repeated them so), but seem so pertinent now. From Say Goodbye to Hollywood, he wrote "Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes, I'm afraid it's time for goodbye again." These lines didn't mean anything to me when I was growing up in Jersey City, but after saying good-bye ("au revoir") to California, New York, and New Jersey, his words make sense.

Monday, November 05, 2001
Game 7 of the World Series was exactly as billed: a taut match-up between 20-game winners Curt Schilling (Diamondbacks) and Roger Clemens (Yankees).

It turned out to be a perfect series ending game, with the Diamondbacks taking a page out of the Yankees playbook by manufacturing a bottom of the ninth inning rally that wrestled the chapionship away from New York for the first time in three years.

As a baseball fan (albeit a mild one), this will probably be the World Series that I'll remember the most. I won't soon forget how New York battled back to tie the series after they were down two games (miraculous homers by Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter, Scott Brosius, and super timely hitting by Alfonso Soriano). I won't forget Byung-Hyun Kim's despondent body language after he gives up a homer to blow Game 5.

As a baseball fan rooting for Arizona this series, tonight's victory was quite fitting and satisfying.

Sunday, November 04, 2001
One of my favorite shows this season is Curb Your Enthusiasm, the darkly funny show about Larry David, the co-creator of Seinfeld. I am coming to this show in its second season. I generally enjoy TV shows about TV (I liked Sportsnight, for example), but I think what I enjoy about this show is getting a feel for the roots of Seinfeld.

Prior to Larry David, I was a huge fan of The Larry Sanders Show, a marvelous "dark humor" comedy about a talk show host played by Garry Shandling. There's too much in the show that cause me to break out in laughter, and almost all of it is Rated R. Thank goodness I can catch reruns.

If you can bear to watch these two shows, I think you get my comedic sensibilities.