Baseball vs Cricket: the obvious(?) comparison

I don’t necessarily feel that I am the best person to make this comparison. While I feel I know the rules to cricket fairly well, I attended sadly few matches growing up in SA. Resigning most of my spectating to the TV-room couch. At the same time I’ve watched a grand total of one baseball match. Nevertheless I feel it necessary to comment.

It was a fun outing. We watched the LA Dodgers play against the NY Mets at Dodger Stadium. We were fortunate enough to go with friends who were able to answer all our questions, and when they were stumbling, a nearby spectator who overheard our conversation was happy to ensure we did not leave un- or misinformed.DodgerStadiumAt a base level, the sports are the same. You have bowlers/pitchers who try ‘throw’ the ball towards the batter/batsman, who after successfully hitting the ball have to run somewhere. Now there are obviously many differences too. In cricket you only get one ‘strike’, and technically the bowler can have as many ‘balls’ as he wants (no-balls & wides) as opposed to just four, although he’s forfeiting runs each time.

Bowls and pitches all come in different varieties with differing amounts of speed and curve on them. And the man with the bat who’s not receiving is always trying to gain a couple feet (or a lot) before the ball has been thrown. A home run is much like a 6, and even when the ball bounces, they can all still gain two bases in what is known as an automatic double, much like a 4. One complaint I will make is that baseball players apparently need help being told whether they should run or not, as evidence by the first and third base coaches who occasionally wander onto the field.

Like many other things in America, an MLB match isn’t just about the baseball, but the end of every innings instead brings entertainment for the spectators in one form or another. This could be spectators trying to win free tickets, kiss-cams, veteran appreciation or a rendition of ‘Take me out to the ball game‘. It’s understandable that cricket has had to lean towards the 20-over variety, considering the entertainment crammed into a 3 hour MLB match.And I don’t think it’s fair to compare a one-day or test cricket match to baseball. They certainly have different appeals. At around 3 hours, a 20-over cricket match is certainly a fair comparison, although I feel there’s a lot more action involved in such a match than a baseball game. Baseball appeared to have a lot more waiting, especially between batsmen coming out and innings changeover. Something that happens 17 times in a match. Compared to the single innings changeover in cricket, and fairly quick end-of-over switch.

At the end of the day I really enjoyed the game. It was fun learning all the rules and seeing the whole spectacle. My only gripe is the difficulty in distinguishing whether a ball or strike was called immediately after it happened. I feel that everyone on the field obviously knows what’s happening and has reacted, but it takes me a while to catch up. I’m aware the umpire does signal this, maybe our seats were too far away, but in cricket it’s usually immediately evident as to what happened.

If I had to choose between a 20-over cricket match and a baseball game, I’d still go for the cricket match. But in the absence of such events, baseball does a great job of filling the gap. Next up, football vs rugby?

If you’re looking for an alternatively biased article, you can read Zack Case’s American view on how boring cricket is over here.

Brake Pad and Disc replacement – 2008 Hyundai Tucson (1st Gen)

The rear brake pads on our 2008 Hyundau Tucson were wearing thin; I’d also noted some vibration after extended braking coming from the front wheels. As such I decided to replace the rear brake pads, as well as the front discs and pads.

I had replaced the pads on my old Audi previously, and while it wasn’t difficult, it was still a hassle. In contrast, replacing the Tucson’s pads is something almost anyone can do, all you need is a size 14 socket.

There are a bunch of manufacturers who all make products to fit your car. I went with Bosch, because they were the only brand I recognised, but there are many other good manufacturers. In fact I was quite disappointed by Bosch, who packaged incorrect parts into one of the boxes I ordered. Amazon were quick to send me a replacement set.

two parts with the same number, but different shape

For the 2008 Hyundai Tucson, I purchased the following parts:

Disclaimer

Properly functioning brake pads are a critical safety component of your car. While the process for replacing these parts is relatively straightforward, you shouldn’t perform the task if you’re not comfortable doing it. If anything doesn’t fit right, or looks unusual, rather get it checked out by a professional. Additionally, after installing new components, your brakes take some time to wear in, and won’t function 100% immediately. For more info on properly wearing in your brakes, look here.

Rear Wheel Brake Pad Replacement

Get the car up onto jackstands and remove the rear wheel. The brake system is fairly prominent. The entire mechanism is attached to the back of the wheel with two size 14 bolts that are tensioned with a spring washer. You don’t need to remove these. There are another two size 14 bolts (caliper bolts) that are more accessible and easier to remove that hold the mechanism together.

rear wheel caliper bolt

Loosen just the top bolt, and the mechanism folds open. You can then remove the old pads and runners if you have replacements. Now is the best time to push the piston back in. I opened the brake fluid reservoir and emptied some fluid from it before pushing the piston back. This way you don’t have to worry about it overflowing. I put the old brake pad on top of the piston, and used a C-clamp to push it back in.

Now you can load the new clips and pads. Depending on what you purchase, you may want to switch shims over from your old pads to the new new ones. Installation is easy, and you can also apply some lubricant to surfaces that you want to slide easy (not the brake surfaces!). Slide everything back together and tighten bolt.

Front Wheel Brake Pad Replacement

The front brake pad replacement is basically identical. The only difference is that instead of loosening the top caliper bolt, you’re going to loosen the bottom one and open the mechanism upwards.

Front wheel caliper bolt

Otherwise the process is the same.

 

Front Wheel Brake Disc/Rotor Replacement

The brake rotors only have two bolts holding them in place, but the entire brake mechanism has to be removed as well. For the front wheels you’re going to need a size 17 socket/spanner. For the rear wheels it’s a 14. Loosen both of the bolts, and have something nearby that you can rest the brake mechanism on.

front brake bolts

Front wheel brake bolts

Then you need to loosen the two screws holding the rotor in place. You need a rather large Philips screwdriver. These screws can be quite tight, I used a bit of WD40 to loosen them up, but if you’re going to be reusing the discs/screws, make sure to clean them properly, you want them to be tight.

My old discs came off very easily. Some people have more trouble, especially on older cars, you can try something like this if you’re stuck. The new discs go on in reverse order.

Camping California

The last few weeks have given us the opportunity to do some camping in and around LA, namely Monte Cristo in the Angeles Forest and a trip to Joshua Tree.joshuatree

Angeles Forest – Monte Cristo

Our first weekend we headed out to the Angeles Forest and spent a night at the Monte Cristo campsite. Campsites are all first come first serve. We got there midday on Saturday and about half the campsites were still available, but by the time sunset came around, the campground was pretty much full.

There’re no rangers at the campsite, so you buy yourself a permit at the entrance, and drop money in the drop-box. There are no ablution facilities besides a couple longdrop toilets which were surprisingly clean. Each site is quite large and has parking for two vehicles. Even though all the sites were full, there’s enough space that you don’t feel people are on top of you. Drinking water taps are shared between adjoining campsites.montecristoThe campsite is nestled nicely in one of the valleys with a river running through it. It is right next to the road, but traffic isn’t that heavy. While the Angeles Forest has plenty of hiking opportunities, none are close enough to the campsite to hike from there. You’ll have to drive to a trailhead before starting a hike.

It was nice to be able to quickly get out of the city and just relax with nothing going on. We didn’t get any cell reception at the campsite itself, adding to the quietness. Angeles Forest has a lot of other campsites which we’re keen to checkout, especially with summer on its way, opening up some of the campsites which were inaccessible during the winter.

Joshua Tree – Joshua Tree Lake

The next week, we headed out early on Friday and drove out to Joshua Tree. Joshua Tree has a mix of reservation and first come, first serve campgrounds. The reservations were full weeks before, and only arriving late on Friday afternoon, we decided to play it safe and camped just outside Joshua Tree at a private campground, Joshua Tree Lake.joshtreelakeThe campsite is quite close to the West Entrance Station of Joshua Tree, which never closes, so you can head into the park whenever it suits you. Joshua Tree Lake has a mixture of campsites and RV spots. The campsites aren’t demarcated, so you just find a spot where there’s space. It wasn’t particularly busy so we chose a spot without anyone nearby. Barrel fires and camping tables are provided, although if it gets very busy, I doubt there’re enough for everyone.

Being in a dessert environment, there’s no grass for camping, but even with a howling wind the whole time, dust was not an issue. Ablutions were clean and showers are also provided.joshtreelakepanoWe spent Saturday in the north end of the park, hiking Ryan Mountain and Lost Horse Mine. All the trailheads have limited parking, and in the busy spring, you’re not guaranteed a spot. We were lucky though, arriving early enough at Ryan Mountain that there were open spaces, and getting lucky at Lost Horse Mine that we arrived as another vehicle was leaving.

Neither hike was particularly difficult. Ryan Mountain is a straight up, straight back down route that is quite popular and offers good views from a central location. Lost Horse Mine was a flatter and longer loop. It goes past an old gold mine, and some of the buildings still remain there for you to see.

BeforeAndAfter

My wife has apparently been here before.

Before heading back to our campsite we decided to drive out to Keys View. It’s well worth it, with spectacular views into the Coachella Valley, spanning as far as the Salton Sea. We considered doing a section of the Geology Tour Road, but it’s marked 4×4 only, and although some of it is supposedly accessible to two wheel drive vehicles, we didn’t feel like risking getting stuck in the sand.

On Sunday we drove all the way through the park towards Cottonwood Springs. It was pretty amazing seeing the vegetation change from the Joshua Tree packed Mojave Desert in the North, to the Colorado Desert in the South. We did a short hike up to Mastodon Peak, which again offered good views.

losthorsemine

Lost Horse Mine

While we knew Joshua Tree was popular, we didn’t have major expectations, which resulted in an amazing trip. I don’t know if it was just the recent rains, but the park offers stunning scenery with many hikes and other points of interest to keep you busy. We stopped off at Hidden Valley to watch some of the rock climbers do their thing too at some of the world famous routes too.

California has camp grounds everywhere you look, so we’re looking forward to doing some more exploring in the future.

 

Wikipedia article not indexed

Recently I’ve been doing some freelance writing for various people via the online service UpWork. For the most part these have been product reviews of some kind, with odd jobs in between. Recently I had the opportunity to create a Wikipedia article for a musician.

In the past I have on occasion made corrections to Wikipedia pages, but never created a new one before, so it’s been interesting to see the whole process and learn all the checks and balances that Wikipedia tries to employ.

By Wikimedia Foundation – Wikimedia Foundation, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Wikipedia is constantly barraged with new articles, some worthy, some not so much. An army of well-respected Wikipedia users man the front, patrolling new articles, marking them for deletion, offering improvement advice, and in some small cases, approving the articles. The problem is, everyone thinks they deserve a Wikipedia page, but that often isn’t true.

Wikipedia has a number of guidelines for what it terms, notability. Especially when it comes to living persons, notoriety helps determine whether someone is deserving of a Wikipedia page. It’s also frowned upon to create your own Wikipedia page, or to even create one for someone else, with the expectation that you place such information into comments when creating a new page (see conflict of interest).

Regardless of all this, I set about learning all this information and creating a new page for this person. Wikipedia has created a Draft space for articles. It means you can create a page, work on it for as long as you want, and then submit it for approval through the articles for creation process. During this time, the site is live, but is not part of the normal Wikipedia Article space. So other’s can see and edit the page, but it isn’t listed within Wikipedia. The goal of the Draft article is to help people build a proper Wikipedia page, before it’s made live.

So this is what I did. Over several days I successively built up a Wikipedia entry for the artist, and when I was happy with the content and references, I submitted it for review as a draft. Here a draft can either be approved (which will make it live), or rejected. In my case the page was reviewed, and a user suggested that I require further references.

So I went and found further references, updated the comments and waited. But now the article falls into a major backlog that both Drafts submitted for approval and live Articles fall into. There are too many pages for the moderators to get through them all. Usually articles which are made live, or which request approval go to the top of a list, get reviewed and life goes on. But now my article was stuck in the backlog, never to be reviewed again.

So I took the power granted to every user, and made the page Live myself. Usually when an Article is made live, it will go to the top of a new list of new pages. But because my article had been created two weeks earlier, it fell into the backlog of another round of moderation, called the new pages patrol. This isn’t a major problem. An article doesn’t have to be patrolled to go live. So the article was live, you could link to it within Wikipedia, and it came up in Wikipedia searches. However if a page is not patrolled, it cannot be archived by Google, or other search engines.

This was a problem. At first I couldn’t figure out what was actually wrong, and eventually came across an article which showed that an article had to be patrolled before indexing is allowed. Fortunately the people who made these rules recognize some of the shortcomings of Wikipedia, and if an article isn’t approved after 30 days, it can start to be indexed.

30 days later, the page still hasn’t been patrolled, but it now shows up when you search for the artist on Google. It’s been a fun project, and makes me appreciate the tens of thousands of people involved in the Wikipedia project, I Just don’t understand where they find the time.

PS: It’s still possible that the page I created will be patrolled at some stage. Hopefully by then the page would have grown a bit and the artist would have built up a bit more notability (he was in a grey area when it comes to this).