Thursday, July 17, 2014

Yoo-Hoo, Mr. Pirate

TigerBlog was driving along I-95 the other day when he saw a fairly freakish sight.

There was a truck in front of him, far enough in front that he couldn't exactly see what was on the back of it but close enough that he could tell that it was one of those trucks that transports carnival rides. In this case, it was a pirate ship.

When TB was a kid, his favorite ride on the boardwalk at Seaside Heights was the pirate ship. It was the one that swung back and forth like a giant pendulum.

TigerBlog never loved the rides that went around and around, but he was okay with the up and down ones, like roller coasters and the pirate ship. It started out slowly and then picked up speed and height, with the added bonus that it looked out over the ocean.

Hurricane Sandy, of course, destroyed it - temporarily.

Anyway, it's been years and years - decades, actually - since TB has been on a pirate ship ride. He's fairly certain that even if he lives for 50 more years, he won't go on it again.

Still, the truck with the pirate ship did bring back some pretty good memories for TigerBlog.

And as he got closer to it, TB also started to get freaked out. See, there seemed to be a man on the back of the truck waving to the cars that went by. He was out there in the open, seemingly surfing on the bed of the truck while dodging the interstate traffic.

As he got closer, it got worse. It wasn't a real person, just a fake pirate, like a wax figure or something, one who was set up to wave to the passing cars. Except he was completely life-like, only about eight feet tall or so. Freaky. Yeah. Definitely.

As an aside, one of TigerBlog's favorite exchanges between Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam is when Sam is on a ship chasing after the rabbit, and Bugs yells "yoo-hoo, Mr. Pirate." When Sam still chases after him, Bugs says "are you still sore? What a nasty disposition." Hah. That always gets to TB.

Anyway, after TB had a few nightmares about the eight-foot-tall fake pirate, he got to thinking about the carnival world. Miss TigerBlog and her friend Wiki went to one such carnival a few weeks ago, and they had a great time - along with the hundreds of others who were jammed in.

And why wouldn't they be there? Who doesn't like a great carnival?

They're all over the country, and people like the people who run the pirate ship truck go all over the country to work at them. It becomes normal to them, TB supposes.

The nature of work is fascinating. Things that TB takes for granted in his job as standard everyday stuff is probably completely foreign to the pirate ship people, and vice versa.

TB's college friend Ed Mikus Jr. got a new job. He described it this way: "Primarily product support. We deliver tools to analyze mortgage backed securities and I focus on those bonds collateralized by commercial real estate."

TigerBlog has no idea what any of that means, other than he assumes it pays well.

As for TigerBlog's world, his job is very seasonal.

Right now, in the summer, the main staple of his job is missing. There are no games.

They'll be back soon (seven weeks from tomorrow). This is about a week shy of the midway point between the end of last year and the start of next year.

People ask TB all the time what he does in the summer without the games to worry about. Or if he has to work at all.

One of this summer's big projects is the redesign of, the official website of Princeton Athletics. It has had the same basic look for the last nine or so years, which is fine in that it works.

The athletic website is the single best thing that happened in athletic communications in TigerBlog's time here - and really for any college anywhere.

Before there was an athletic website, the ability to communicate directly to those most interested - fans, alums, recruits, donors - was essentially nonexistent. Now? It's the easiest thing in the world.

The amount of content on the website is extraordinary. The problem is that over time, the website has clearly gotten a bit crowded.

Plus, a new look is good every now and then.

The goal is to make the site less busy and easier to navigate while giving priority space where it should be given.

The new site will be live with the start of the new academic year, which leaves another seven weeks to get it done. So far, the process has gone very well, and TigerBlog thinks that Princeton will be offering a very much improved product.

In the meantime, enjoy the summer. Go to a carnival.

Head onto the pirate ship ride, even if TigerBlog won't be there.

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