Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Patches V1

For Christmas Nicole got me a Bamboo Tablet, so now I can draw like a pro on my computer. My first official action is to work on digitizing the alphabet-code-things that I have been doodling for the last couple of years.

Patches was one of the first ciphers I made that wasn't just plain making different symbols for letters. It is based off an earlier code, but I can't find that one right now (I have all of my recent ones in the same notepad).

To use this cipher read a 2x2 group of boxes, from left to right, top to bottom. There are no spaces. The encoded block in the example page says "I really dont like the word blo" (I didn't want to leave the g hanging around in its own row, so I just left it off.)

Monday, December 29, 2008

What it's not about

Before I get to my post proper, I just remembered something interesting that I thought about the other night. For me at least, I can make myself think of things that I have not thought about for a long time, such as a dart gun that I used to have before I was even in kindergarten, or in middle school being let out of class to look at a solar eclipse. All I do is to tell myself to think of things I have not thought about and memories start to pop up in my mind that I haven't thought about in so long. How can a brain do this? Is there some sort of "last time accessed" region that knows when I last thought about something? It is strange.

Well the reason I start to post was to talk about what it means to grow up, however my brain is sidetracked by figuring out how I can make myself think about things I haven't thought about for awhile. So I will just quickly write my thoughts about growing up.

In summary, it seems one good way to measure how much someone has "grown up" is to measure how much that person thinks, and acts, that the whole world revolves about themselves. For example a baby can be viewed as being so much about itself, that it doesn't even care to figure out what is wrong with itself, it just wants others to fix it for them. A toddler knows how to do things for others, a school aged kid can do deeds for the parents without asking, a college aged person can commit their life to someone else, and an "adult" can give their life to raise a herd of other people.

It is a bit simplistic, but I think a part of overall maturity would include a measurement of how much a person is not self centered. And in this regard there can be selfless kids that are more mature than some material craving adults.

On a different note, our hockey game got cut short this weekend because of a brawl between a ref and a player, after said fight the player returned to the rink and hit the ref with a hockey stick. The ref lost some blood and an ambulance was called. I think getting in a heated fight in a rec league about anything would mean you would test low on a maturity scale.

Monday, December 22, 2008

K-State Purple

Outside of Kansas it is hard to find K-State merchandise, here in Oklahoma it is all OU and Oklahoma State at the sports stores, and in Colorado it is Broncos, and the other pro teams. What makes finding K-State stuff even harder is that K-State purple is a very distinct purple, and alot of companies that put out mass collegiate apparel don't realize that it is easy to tell when they get the color purple wrong. So I'll do my part here to point out the differences of the two colors.

First I will start with the right K-State Purple. Now I'm sure that this purple isn't the exact right color, but I tried to match the color on my monitor with the color of my hat, which is the right color. The first thing to notice is that K-State purple is a blue purple instead of a red purple. I think the proper name for blue purple is indigo purple.

Now this is the most commonly used wrong purple that is used for K-State. It is most definitely a red purple (violet purple) and seems a bit sun faded compared to true K-State purple. Alot of times K-State items that are discounted are of this color.

I have a couple of ideas why people get K-State purple wrong. The first is because the color is very hard to replicate on TV. It seems that there are two main options when most networks decide to broadcast our games on TV. The first is to make the purple look almost black, which I think looks fine. However, the more common color that gets shown as is that red purple that is certainly not the right color. It is a rare case when the color is actually broadcast correctly on TV. The second problem is that K-State purple is sort of a unique purple color in the sports world. It is similar to the Colorado Rockies, maybe a bit bluer, but most sports teams, such as the Phoenix Suns actually use the red purple instead. This means that, unlike say red or kelly green, there has to be someone who knows what color they should be using. And I bet most of the times companies just get something purple without actually looking at the color. The final problem is that it seems even some apparel that starts out the correct purple color fades into the red purple (while some really good quality stuff fades into just a lighter version of K-State purple). So some of the problem at stores could be just old apparel that started out the right color but have changed slowly into the wrong color over time.
I could go on about how K-State ink purple isn't the same color as normal K-State purple, and what colors should be paired with purple (K-State's only official color is purple), but I can tell from your face that you have had enough of this topic. Cheerio.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mega Super Fun Game Post

I have been hoarding some good games in my bookmarks and I never get them posted, so lets just get them all out so I don't have to think about posting them again.

Age of War - This game is brought to you by my office mate, which has been his poison of choice recently. The point of the game is to eliminate the opposing city and to do so you make troops and improve technology. There are also mega attack things that are free to use and kill lots of stuff, however you have to wait for them to be available again once you use them.

SeppuKuties - A platformer where you have to sacrifice cute animals to finish the level, be careful though, you only get one set of animals to play though the whole game with. I am currently stuck on level 9 and I can't seem to figure out how to beat it.

Robokill - A sweet game where you are a robot and you kill other robots and get upgrades to your own robot. It turns out that this is only the first "world" and you have to buy the expansion to continue playing, but the free part of the game is long enough that it is still very fun to play.

IncrediBots - This game is alot like Fantastic Contraption only there is way more options to choose. It is a little too detailed for me to like it as much as Fantastic Contraption but it is still fun. Going though the tutorial before you start with the levels is a big help.

Powerpool - This is the game that I have been playing when i need a 15 minute break from my normal work routine. The goal of the game is to sink all the ball, except the cue ball, like normal pool. But in this game some of the balls have special powers. Zanyness ensues.

Super Stacker - You get blocks and you get a platform to build on, just make sure that the blocks don't fall off the platform and you pass the level. could it really be that hard?

Go ahead try them all!

Monday, December 15, 2008


For as longs as I can remember logos have fascinated me. I like the idea of a symbol being able to both name and define an idea. Today while sitting around I started to think about what in my past made such a deep impression on me about logos and branding. I started to think about good logos and bad logos, and why I thought a good logo was good and what made a bad logo. Then it dawned on me, I know why I had a deep approval for good logos. Back in 1989 K-State changed from their "fuzzy head" wildcat to their current Powercat logo. I bet that the change in logo during my formative childhood years (I was 9 at the time), along with their rise in the reputation of the football team ingrained a scene of success with strong logos, especially compared to other weaker logos that were around since then.

Now the reason that I started thinking about this today is that I found a video on Youtube that is an interview with the lead designer of the Obama logo (see the end of this post). Despite my political feelings about Obama I do admire the way that he ran his campaign. He did a very good job of branding himself and his ideas and his logo was a brilliant step in getting out his name and ideas in an image that did not depend on any words. I can only imagine that from election forward that actual logos (not just word art) and branding will start to take a major role in political elections.

It could be argued if working on branding candidates actually gets us closer to getting good people elected however.

Obama logo design video:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Love/Hate with Christmas

When it comes to getting gifts I liked to be surprised. But with that want of surprise also lurks something that I hate, acting surprised. The truth of the matter is, that even with the best gift possible I probably wouldn't give as much of a reaction as an average person would give an average gift. There are two reason why this is: 1) I have problems emphasizing emotions. 2) As soon I unwrap the gift I think about it instead of acting all crazy. For instance, say somebody gave me a million dollars for Christmas, I would probably say something to the effect of "cool" and then start to think about how much needs to be invested, and if my house should get paid off, etc. Yeah, that makes getting presents for me difficult since the givers joy is diminished, but that's all I can offer. Its not that I don't like the gifts that I get, it's just that I don't communicate my approval for the gift in the same way as others. It seems my "thought" response is usually way ahead of my "emotion" response.

But don't forget: I do like getting gifts. :)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Cake in your face

Nicole has been tracking an interesting idea:
Couples that don't shove cake into each others faces during their wedding reception have a higher chance of having a better marriage.
I was thinking about this last night when I was getting ready for bed and I think I have one reason why this might be the case: When one of the newlyweds decides to shove cake into their spouse's face they are basically deciding that the attention and laughter of others is more important to them than how their partner feels. Obviously that is not a good first step for a marriage, and an indicator or how the person will feel when the initial infatuation love wears off.
As always there are exceptions to the rules, but in general this seems to be the case from what we have seen.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

New food update

This week we have been cooking with three new focus ingredients: horseradish, liquid smoke, and beets. I figure I should let you know how things turned out.

On Monday night we made Portobello Mushroom Burgers which used homemade horseradish sauce. We couldn't find ground horseradish because either the store didn't have it or I couldn't describe the product good enough (they had more than enough prepared horseradish sauce though). So instead we bought fresh horseradish mushed it up using this recipe, and then used this recipe to make the horseradish sauce. The 'burgers' came out fine, at times they tasted like BLTs with mushroom and at times they tasted awesome depending on which bite I took (the stem of the mushroom tasted much better than the head). The horseradish sauce was good, but not amazing, however after a couple of days of rest in the refrigerator I bet the flavors will be a bit more developed. I will have to look for some more uses for horseradish now that I have a tupperware full of it.

Also on Monday night we started work on the liquid smoke recipe Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker since the meat was to cook for 16-20 hours. We made a 2 pound roast instead of the 6 pounds, but besides that we did everything as written. Come Tuesday night the whole house smelt of cooked pig. We did end up having to use some water in the crockpot since our roast was small. Even before dinner I was looking forward to eating the roast and I wasn't let down. It is amazing what pork roast + liquid smoke + salt + cooking for 16 hours can equal, in my case awesome. I think that the liquid smoke did play an important role in filling out the flavor, however I couldn't really pick out the 'smoke' flavor since the roast had caramelized quite a bit on its own during the cooking.

Last night we took the biggest leap of faith and made Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup. Since this was my first cooking experience with beets or any Ukrainian anything I was a bit leery about making a freakin huge pot of it. While getting everything ready the first thing that I noticed was how cool beets are. They produce alot of magenta dye and after peeling look really spiffy. It turns out that beets kind of taste like dirt potatoes, or maybe like turnip. They are kind of a pain to work with since everything turns so pink and I was constantly in fear of staining everything in my kitchen. After everything cooked for an hour or so we gave the pink soup a taste and it turned out to be fairly good. Adding the sour cream to the soup at the end helps alot and I would describe the soup as a tomato-vegetable soup with a definite beet flavor. It is good, and I will probably make it again, however it makes alot and it would be difficult to reduce the scale of the recipe.

So whats for dinner tonight? How about Kalua pork sandwiches with horseradish sauce and borscht soup? You bettcha.

Monday, December 01, 2008

BCS all up in here

Earl talks about the problems that the BCS faces this year, and me being the expert on everything has weighed in on the subject, but since I also am lazy (and I know a good post when I see one) I will just repost my comment about his post here.


Here are my two cents on the subject of the BCS.

When we talk about the BCS we need to realize two things:

1. The BCS was a huge improvement over using polls at the end of the season to figure the number one team in the nation. Besides different polls crowning teams national champions there was no guarantee that the number one and two teams in the nation leading up to the bowl games would even play each other. The championship game that we get now at least gets the top two teams to play against each other.

2. The BCS was devised to make the hard decision about what the top two teams are. In the case that there is a clear cut number one and number two all the polls and the BCS will agree and all is good in the land. However the BCS was made so that when there isn't an obvious matchup for the championship game. This means that when the BCS is most needed is when it has to make the tough decision about who are the best teams. So when the BCS is the most useful it will be criticized the most because it is there to pick only two teams. There really is no "win" situation for the BCS because somebody will always feel like they are getting left out.

Now I would much rather have a playoff system, as would much of the civilized world, however I doubt it will happen since there is just too much money tied up right now. Even an act of God (or Obama, whichever comes first) will probably not break the BCS logjam.

However if we do go to an 8 team playoff system we need to keep one thing in mind to keep it from becoming a pissing match. The point of the playoffs is to crown a single champion. And the point of the regular season is to be number one going into the playoffs. If we get to thinking that all our team needs to do is get into the playoff so that they can get a shot at the championship we will just fall down the slope of "well we are ranked 9 but are better then #8, we should get in too!" We can not, no, must not, think this way. We should think that the top 4 teams deserve to get into the playoffs, and the next for teams taken are there just in case there is some dispute about the top 4 teams. So the #8 team that got into the playoffs doesn't deserve to be there, it just got lucky.

If you liked this comment check out my blog. (Translation, I'm just gonna repost this comment over on my blog.)