Thursday, January 31, 2008


I figure that if I play a game for a couple of days during all of my free time I probably should post it here so that no one else gets their work done either. Onslaught is a Tower Defender type of game where you build and upgrade gun turrets that shoot enemies that are trying to get to your base. The reason Onslaught is so fun though is because there are alot of guns to buy and lots of options to upgrade. Also there are many combinations of guns that shoot off super weapons if the guns are grouped in a certain way (and are upgraded enough). This game is one of those that I play over and over just to try out different combinations just to see how it works. And last night I got things working really well and got to wave 555 before dying. Click to play (if you dare).

p.s. you might want to mute the sound if you are at work.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Super Bowl Cookies

For the last couple of years now we make cookies for the Super Bowl. Each year we pick out two different cookies recipes and frost them like the teams that are in the Super Bowl. The idea is that the team that tasted better would be the team that would win. And actually it worked every year except for last year, the Bears cookies tasted better than the Colts, even though the Colts won. Also, once a team has a recipe we always use that recipe for the team, so this year we already had a recipe for the Patriots, but we had to find a new one for the Giants. Here are the recipies for this year:

New England Patriots Super Bowl Cookie recipe

New York Giants Super Bowl Cookie recipe

The rules for eating the cookies are: You must eat a cookie of the team that just scored in the game, but not for extra points. If you are sick of cookies, too bad, you still must eat the cookie if the team scores.

I generally make about 6 cookies for each team for each person at the Super Bowl party, which is usually way more than what is needed, but leftover sugar cookies aren't bad.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Why America is Worse Off: Part 3- Medical Insurance

In this installment of my 50 part series called: Why America is Worse Off, I discuss problems with medical insurance, and insurance in general.

The core reason that we have insurance is a good idea: we all pay a little to a company so that when a rare disaster strikes that company can pay for a replacement or get things fixed. It makes sense that I should have to pay insurance for a house so that if the home burns down I don't lose all my savings, and the bank doesn't lose money on my mortgage.

The problem is when we buy insurance for things that we really should be able to pay for. A good example is medical insurance. The reason that I say this is because we all at some point will need to use medical insurance (assuming that you have it). Since we all will use the insurance the insurance company has to charge us all more than what we would normally spend so that it can make money. Also, since we use medical insurance so much companies have started to include medical insurance as a benefit for working at the job. This causes another problem because now people who do not work at a place with medical insurance must pay for their own medical insurance. And why does everyone have to have medical insurance now? Because companies have raised the prices of the medicine and the services because the insurance will cover alot of the costs and people can afford to pay more.

So now people that do not have insurance are screwed twice, once because they are not covered for major and rare problems. And again because now everything costs so much because of the way that everyone else uses insurance. To make this problem even worse is that since we use medical insurance so much it costs alot to get it, so somebody who is looking to get medical insurance outside of a job has to pay so much that sometimes it is not worth it. And then they go uninsured.

So what is the solution? Well, some people have suggested having the government provide free health care. This is a bad idea except for cases of extreme poverty or an extraordinary need. The cost to the government would be way more than what is reasonable. If we have a problem with government spending now just wait for them to pay for our medical bills. Another problem that government based health care has had is that they can not keep up with everyone. It has gotten so bad in the UK that the doctors are talking about not taking smokers, obese, or even the elderly, to lighten the workload.

No, I think the solution is to not get insurance for things that we know we are going to use. For example, it is within reason to say that at some point I will need to use my auto insurance from being in a wreck. But for State Farm to make money from me I must pay them more money than I will get back from them. This is stupid. I probably already have paid enough for another car with just my insurance checks. If I didn't have insurance then I would have enough money now to buy another car when it is needed (plus I would get interest on the money now while it is in the bank). I know that sometimes insurance is for the "other guy" and that is ok, and it is also ok to have insurance for disasters. But really we need to stop having insurance for things that we know we are going to you the insurance for. It really doesn't make sense.

...Of course when I look at a job offer one with a good benefits package is always a plus... I'm not going to turn down free (or greatly reduced) insurance. :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Out of Earshot

I overheard this conversation as I was walking out of my building on campus:

Guy, As he walks into the building: Hey what are you doing here? I must be stalking you.

Girl, Standing in front of the building: You must be.

Guy, all the way inside the building: You wouldn't be that lucky.

The girl didn't hear him say that because he was too far in the building, but I could still hear him. I don't think he wanted her to hear it anyways because he trailed off his sentence as if to say: "Why do I say the stupidest things to girls?"

Sometimes it works out better for both parties when the full conversation is missed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Coffee Fix

I am by no means a "coffee lover", in fact I am kinda picky about the coffee that I drink. Before the days of tea I would drink just any old coffee loaded with creamer and sugar, but anymore my taste buds revolt when they taste bad coffee. Overall I still would rather drink a glass of tea rather than a cup of joe, but there are times when only coffee will do. Good coffee. So what is good coffee?

1. The darker the roast the richer the flavor. And, no, richer does not mean bitter. Good dark coffee has a strong smooth flavor with little aftertaste. This one point changed me from not drinking coffee at all. If you don't know what kind of coffee to get, especially if some sort of milk is getting added, dark is better than light. Light coffee is acidic and after awhile it seems to make my throat hurt.

2. Burnt coffee does not mean good coffee. I don't know why Starbucks does it but they seem to think that they should burn their dark roast coffee. I have heard that people in the biz. call Starbucks: Charbucks, and it is no wonder. Their dark roast taste like charcoal. When I complain about the burning of the coffee to Starbucks lovers they say that I should just get a lighter roast. No... Thank you. (See #1)

3. When making coffee at home error on the side of too much grounds instead of too few grounds. If you use too few grounds the bitter taste will leach out during the brewing process, and that is not a good thing to have in your coffee. (Also grind your own coffee if you can. Store the whole beans in an airtight non transparent container. And don't store the coffee beans in the fridge or freezer.)

4. Find a local roaster. I never realized how much better freshly roasted coffee is until my favorite local coffee place, Radina's, started to roast their own coffee. It puts to shame the coffee that is shipped in to other places. If you can't find a local roaster go with a coffee place that knows alot about what coffee they get in. You don't need to know everything about the coffee that you are drinking, but it is good if they do.

Well that is all the helpful hints that I have for coffee. Like I said I am still more of a tea person, but since I have discovered the above four points I have found coffee to be much more enjoyable. Actually, I am having a mug of coffee right this moment.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I have not yet found a reason why I like some game remakes and I don't like others. But Filler is one that I really enjoy. This game takes the old game where you try to section off a certain amount of the playing field to go on to the next level, and changes things around a little bit. The object of Filler is to fill up 2/3 of the screen with balls (or maybe really heavy balloons) that you make. The only problem is that the are little gray balls bouncing around that will take away one of your lives if they touch the white ball that you are making. Every level that you get to adds another grey ball to the playing area, after awhile it gets kinda difficult to make the white balls to fill up the playing area. Oh, and you can only make so many white balls each level... and there is a time limit. It is quite addictive. Check it.

Friday, January 18, 2008


My very very short review of this movie:

You remember the Blair Witch Project? Remember Godzilla? Take the shaky cam from one add the monster from another, throw in a bit of "realism" and viola! Cloverfield.

I recommend this movie if you are a 13 year old boy, or if you thought 28 Weeks Later was a really good movie. Else I suggest a pass on this one.

But then again, I tend to have different tastes in movies than everyone else.

p.s. If you do watch this try not to think about what you would do, it just leads to frustration.

If you want a more detailed review let me know.


Today is the fist day that I teach my new class, Stat 511. This is also the last class that I will teach since Nicole will be graduating and we will be on the hunt for "real" jobs. So it makes since that my lass class to teach is the same class where I decided to change my major over to Statistics in years ago. Back then the class was called Statistics for Engineers, at least i think it was that, and at that time I was failing my Chemical Analysis class and looking for something to get into instead of getting a BS Chemistry. I had thought about getting into math, and that is why I took Stat 511, but during the course I reallized that I liked actually appling the math much more than just doing it for math's sake, so I decided to get a major in Statitics instead of Math.

Let me just say: Abooyeah!

It turned out that Statistics was exactly the right choice for me, it was math with a purpose, it not only had interesting problems but the jobs are in demand for majors too. I really got lucky that I chose the correct major on only my second shot.
So now I will go teach the class where all the magic started for me. Maybe I can persuade a couple of my Chemistry students to give Statistics a shot as their major. That would make my journey at K-State truly a full circle.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Accidents people have not died from

So far there is no google results for:
- "died in a flashdance accident"
- "died in a translation accident"
- "died in a painting accident"
- "died in a school of hard knocks accident"
- "died in a statistics accident"

But there are now 39,200 results for
"died in a blogging accident"

(If you don't already know XKCD is el capitan de awesome.)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Steampunk versus Clockwork

I am always on the look out for the "next big thing". For the past couple of years the Pirates versus Ninja battle has raged on, and the winner looks like Pirates. So I have kept my eyes peeled for the next battle, and here are some of the possibilities:

Steampunk vs. Clockwork - This one is my favorite, one group derives power from steam versus another that makes intricate machines powered by winding. They are both really cool, but maybe too close to be an easily divided fight.

Vikings vs. Aztecs - A couple years ago it looked like the vikings were coming on, but not much happened from it. I think if they get paired against the Aztecs (Mayans/Incas) it may be the opponent they needed, the problem is that Aztecs and Vikings may be too different from one another. And Aztecs may not be glamorous enough to get people on their side.

Vampires vs. Vampire Hunters - This seems like a natural rivalry, but it really doesn't get much play. But think about it both are generally thought to be really cool, yet both are enemies. You can't loose if you pick either side they are both just awesome.

So keep your eyes peeled and see if any of these rivalries pop up. It might take awhile, but as the Pirate vs. Ninja thing dies out something will take its place.

Bonus: While I am on the topic of following current trends I would like to get everyone caught up with the latest fruit trends: Awhile ago it was Peach, then a few years ago Mango was the big new fruit flavor, then not too long ago Pomegranate made a showing, and currently Acai is the hot fruit.

My pick for the next hot fruit is Goji, although I could see Rhubarb make a run for it. (But rhubarb isn't a fruit, so it shouldn't count.) If you see any Goji fruit drinks let me know, also if you have a pick for the next hot fruit or versus battle throw me a comment.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Henna for sale

Poking around Blogger I found this blog where a henna artist post all of the artwork that she does. It was a plesent change from the normal random blog.

I don't have a reason to get this done... and it is kinda girly, but it looks pretty sweet.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It's time for the hottest party.

I just danced DDR style to Anything But Joey, an awesome local rock band. And now you too can play DDR with any music you have for under $25. But wait, if you act now I will show you how to do this for yourself! (Note: If you read past this I am assuming that you are "acting now"... because my blog post is static, so I can only guess one action, and the action that I guessed for you to do is to "act now". So if you aren't "acting now" don't read the rest of the post.)

My guide on how to play "DDR" with any music for under $25 (plus shipping):

1. First you will need to own a computer with one open usb port. I assume you have one of these because the cost of the computer is not included in the $25 stated above.

2. Download the program called Step Mania. This is a free program that is very similar to Dance Dance Revolution. It is a fairly good program and actual video and arcade games have been made based off of it.

3. Next you need to download a program called DancingGorilla. This program takes any mp3 and turns it into a "stepfile", that is a file that Step Mania uses in the game. The awesome part about DancingGorilla is that it also automatically makes all the steps for the song too (and it is fairly good at it). If you don't like some of the steps that DancingGorilla made for you, you can always use Step Mania and edit the steps. Also if you don't want to go to the effort to convert your own songs there are many songs already made, just poke around Step Mania's homepage. Oh, one other thing, DacingGorilla only likes mp3 (and maybe ogg?), so if your music is in the dreaded wma format you need to convert it. (And because I like you, here is a free program to do that.)

4. Ok, now we need something to dance on, so run down to your local Walmart to pick up a PS2 compatible dance pad, it'll cost you about $20. But if we look on amazon we can find one for $16. Check it out. Nothing too complicated here, just make sure the pad is PS2 compatible (almost all are.)

5. Now that we got the pad we need a way to get it plugged in to the computer, and unless your computer is fancy enough to include a PlayStation 2 port you are gonna need to get a converter. I don't know what brick and mortal store carries these, but here is one from the internet, and it only costs $7. A big note here: make sure that the PS2 to USB converter that you get can handle dance pads, there is a guide here that might be helpful. The problem is that if the converter can't go into "dance pad mode" you can't input signals for up/down and left/right at the same time, and you need to be able to do that to make it work right. So it is worth checking out what converter you get, not just anyone will do, but I think most work.

6. Ok, so you got everything downloaded, and everything bought? Good. Now plug in you dance pad into your computer and enjoy. But remember to turn on your "dance mode" first, usually by holding down start+back+up for three seconds on the dance pad... i didn't do this the first time I tried the pad out and it went all wonky on me. If you have more problems check out Step Mania's FAQ and Tutorials.

Dance it out.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Geeky (Video) Podcast Heresy

There are only three video podcasts that I watch each week. One is a board game podcast called Board Games with Scott. The other two are pop-tech based; one is Diggnation and the other is The Totally Rad Show.

Now I think the common feeling on the blagoblag is that Diggnation is one of the best podcasts out there, and I agree that it is good and it does make me laugh alot. But recently I have really come to like The Totally Rad Show. It isn't as funny, but I really like the way the hosts interact with each other (like really good friends) and I respect their opinions.

So I am going to just come out and say it: The Totally Rad Show is better than Diggnation. (If this was posted on some geek forum a flam war would now ensue.)

I suggest looking into all three podcasts, although Diggnation and TRS do swear some, so be forewarned. (And at times Board Games with Scott is just weird.)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Chat Noir

Does the cold weather have you down? Well I have a game for you. It is called Chat Noir, the point of the game is to trap the cat into one circle. It is harder than it seems, but once I get used to how the cat runs I won about half the time. this game is a good use for those odd minutes you have laying around the house. Check it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Basic Time Travel Design

This morning while i was laying in bed I thought of something. If you are going to build a time machine make sure that it still works fine in reverse, because it is quite possible that if you are going to travel back in time everything, including the way the machine works will also go backwards. Keep that in mind...

You know, just in case.