Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Say no to "Art".

Out of all the swindlers I believe that "artist" get off the easiest. I should clarify that I don't mean all artists, just those that tend to hide behind the phrase "you can't criticize my work because it is art". Those people -they have a racket going.

Take for instance this new "art":



It's a rotating kitchen. Neat? Yes. Somewhat of an experiment? Yes. Art? No.

I am getting tired of these "artists" who just do *something* and then claim it's art. That isn't art, that is just doing something new. I don't see why they get a pass as soon as they say "but it's art!". Hog. Wash.

Let's celebrate the people that actually have talent, not those that just get away with anything because they hide behind the term "art".

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

And He Said "Let there be couch"


So it was. And they sat. And it was good.


This weekend Nicole and I finally joined the 16th Century and got ourselves a couch. But this isn't just any old couch, it is a Jigsaw Puzzle Couch, and as you can see from the picture it is quite awesome.

Many thanks to Daily Piglet for her review of the couch over on her blog. (The review is actually how I found out about her blog.)

Now we just need to get a TV so that we have some reason to sit on this couch.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

State Song

When I was growing up my Grandpa has a tape of a song that had all the states in it. We listened to it alot and I even think some of the girls got some money if they memorized the song.

The song he had was very close to this one form the Animaniacs except this one is states and their capitols:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Amazing, and not in a good way.

Sometimes it is amazing to see what other countries are struggling with:

Friday, October 02, 2009

Alarm Will Sound

This morning I had a dream that I was in a store (like a pawn shop or something similar) and I was tired of being there so I decided that I wanted to leave. Right next to the counter was a side exit door that was propped open a few inches. When I got to the door to leave I noticed a sign on it that said "Don't Open Door - Alarm Will Sound". I kind of chuckled to myself because the sign was obviously wrong since the door was already open and there was no alarm going off. So I went through the door out into the sidewalk - and them my alarm went off, as in my 7:30am alarm to wake me up went off - just as I was walking through the door in my dream.

I am sure someone in my brain had that one all worked out and through it would be hilarious joke to play.

Why didn't I heed the sign?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Parenting

I think this is the definition of a good parent:


Update: Good job MLB for taking that video down, I would use your official video of it (I even like the commentary better) but I can't embed it on my blog.

Update2: No thanks to MLB it is up again. I agree with alot of others around the nets that the MLB is hugely stupid in clamping down on this clip. They did a good job of turning a great clip into a black eye for themselves.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Internets Are Alive

With the sounds of awesome.

It seems that with increasing frequency there are neat things being made on the internet. One of the latest things to catch my eye is a site called animoto.com that takes images, videos, and a soundtrack and turns them automatically into a pretty good slide show.

Here is the one that I made as a promo for the two fantasy football leagues that I am running this year (my teams are the Tea Republic ones):



Not too bad, the only trick is that the timing of the images are preset so I had to edit the music some to fit the amount of images that I had. In the end I am happy with the video it made though.

In other news work is keeping me busy, so I haven't had the time lately to post. I am working on things though that should give me more stuff to post about, so stay tuned for that.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Soda one Soda all

Whenever I am on the road I only stop at gas stations, not because I don't like smelly rest stops (it's true though). It's because I like buying different drinks. No, really. If there is a gas station that I stop at and I don't go in to see if they have any crazy new drink I feel like I might have missed an opportunity to find my true love in the beverage world. (Surge was my soul mate until Coke killed it and replaced it with the impostor Vault... It's ok Vault I still like you, just not in THAT way.)

Anyways Coke has made a machine that is made of hopes and dreams:



Coke has placed a couple of these in the wild down in Atlanta, let's see what the natives think:



If there was one of these machines anywhere in Oklahoma I would make a pilgrimage to see it.

Peach Vault, you may still yet win my heart.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Awesome begot Awesome

Apparently Woot! had their 5th birthday yesterday, and to celebrate it a company called ChronoShark (random watch-a-day deal site) sent Woot a marching band and cupcakes:



How awesome is that?

Now the question is would the company that you work for do that, or get that from a rival? Probably not, you know why? Because companies have decided that they are in business to make money and not have fun. Woot on the other hand doesn't take things too seriously and has awesomely funny jokes and great deals. They enjoy making their money. People see that, they like it, and they treat Woot better for it.

Isn't that how we should work and live? I guess another word for it is karma, but I like the term "Awesome begot Awesome". We spend too much time just getting by and not trying to go above and beyond, we need to do that. And not to make quarterly profit totals or whatever cooperate BS companies have, we need to do it to make the world awesome. Woot does it, Chipotle does it, the business model works.

Monday, July 13, 2009

You say Hammer, I say...

Anybody who is anybody at my work uses a yellow legal pad when they take notes. So not to be one to miss out on a trend I too use yellow legal pads (actually, I think it is more of a case that in the office supplies we only have yellow legal pads, but whatever). But I don't like getting a new pad when I use up an old one, instead I like to find and use pads that someone else has started to use and then abandon it. And that is rather easy to do here since there are a couple of kids that come to work with their parents once in a awhile. Usually I can find a pad that has the first couple of pages drawn on and the rest of the pad ready for my more sophisticated notes (i.e. my Master's level doodles during meetings).

In one of the pads that I started to use I flipped through first first couple pages of drawings to find a building list: a Nail, then a picture of a nail, a Board, then a picture of a plank of wood, then:
That's right, a Wamer. I believe that wamer describes to function of the tool way more than hammer. I propose that we use the name wamer from now on.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Normal Plushies and Etsy Stores

My wife, Nicole, has always been the crafty type. When we were dating (if you would call it that... we didn't actually go on that many dates) she would make candles, clothes, and wrapping paper out of candy wrappers. When we got married she continued on her crafty ways with making Christmas cards, knitting, and sewing pirate costumes. Now that we have a house she has found new hobbies to add to the list. Stained glass, very fancy Renaissance dresses, and making soft toys.

Recently though she has been working over time with the crafts, the reason is that she has made an Etsy store and people are actually buying the things that she is making. The name of the store is Nausicaa Distribution and it features things that are statistics (and math) related. So far the most popular item is the Normal Distribution Plushie.

She has been so successful with the store that she has made enough money to buy a new table to make stained glass on, and even buy her own domain NausicaaDistribution.com. Last night I sat down and fixed up her web page so that it looks all pretty, well, at least for Firefox users (my rigorous testing was of me making sure it looked fine on my browser).

If you have a minute go check her store out, the audience is kinda specific (those that like cute and statistical things), but maybe you will fall in love with math all over again.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

2 smart 4 knives. (or the padded path to doom)

Just a reminder about banning guns: if we ban guns we will just ban knives next (because criminals will just use them instead). And we aren't just talking about big knives but I also mean steak knives. It sounds stupid but England is showing us our society without guns:


"As knife crime remains a problem in many of our towns and cities, it beggars belief that so many traders are still prepared to sell potentially lethal weapons to children," said Ron Gainsford, chief executive of the Trading Standards Institute (TSI).

...

Knives have become a status symbol among some young people and the increase in searching by police officers means some young people dash into shops to buy knives for "instant arming".

article

Yeah.

How about we just hold our children accountable and make them responsible. It is the child that is babied his whole life that utterly fails when grown up, the same is true for societies.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

False Security

I don't know exactly know why, but the only logical reason I can think of as a justification of having to change my password on my company computer every couple of months is so that in the rare case that I leave the company I can't access the computers after a couple of months.

They (the IT guys) tout this measure as added security but I believe that my passwords are now less secure. Why? Well because I was able to remember them, but after so many changes I can't think of anything else that I know I will be able to remember after a weekend. So what do I do? That's right, sticky note next to the computer. Anyone at my desk can now find my password by just looking, not by guessing like that had too before. This is far less secure.

However there is even a more sinister security hole that is made with frequent password changes that require many types of characters -they appear to be strong words when in fact they will be very predictable.

For example, a typical password choice might be: 12#$TY . Seems pretty secure right? I doubt it is, and I bet it is on the short list for password crackers. Why? Because the password is just 1234ty, with shift being held down for the 34ty part. It is easy to type, easy to remember, and satisfies the three types of characters requirement.

So are our computers any safer now that we have to have complicated passwords that rotate every so often. I doubt it; determined hackers will easily be able to find patterns in the passwords or physical evidence of passwords. However, is it a pain in the butt to have to keep coming up with new passwords?

Y0ubEtch@

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jones for the Green

I general I don't care much about cars. Sure some look cool, or would be fun to have, but if I was handed millions of dollars I wouldn't go out and buy some fancy car -cars just don't interest me.

That is except for Green Mustangs. Red Mustangs, eh. Green Chargers, pass. But paint a Mustang Green and I think it is the coolest car ever.
That is all.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

1984? More like 2009.

Really, was 1984 not required reading in England? It have been.

First they put up CCTVs everywhere. But it's not just to record public spaces in the case of crime, no, they have people watching them at all times and even scold people who are behaving badly. There should be public outrage, but there is little.

And its not like the English government is trying to cover up what they are doing. Here is an actual poster made to promote the new CCTVs:
How does this poster even get made? It is almost flaunting the fact that England was 15 years late to 1984.

Now, just to make life "better" famous quotes will be broadcast in the subway system. Sure it is a good idea to do, but not through government mandate. That will get all too old all too fast. And when will "anti-terror" quotes start to get slipped in?

It is amazing how someone can so fully understand people and foresee what will happen, and then actually write the prediction down. Bravo Orwell, you win again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Fun

I have many things I want to write about (such as why people that have no idea what the normal procedure at a restaurant is feel like they should give orders to others who go there all the time) but I found this clip and, well, it is more entertaining than I would be.
Enjoy:

Monday, June 08, 2009

The start of the end

First watch this video (it is from Project Natal, on the XBox 360):



If half of this video is true we are in serious trouble; it will be the start of computers replacing people as companions. Sure there are a couple people right now that attach themselves to the odd story book hero, anime girl, or new hot American Idol, but those characters can't react back to your affection. This program on the other hand, has a personality, idiosyncrasies that take time to learn, interaction in both physical and mental.
It could be argued that the interaction that is taking place (at least from the standpoint of the human) is real. And as long as it feels real for the human it will push all the buttons that a real human interaction will normally push, this means that there won't be a reason to have human relationships. Why try to date somebody that will just break your heart in the end? Why have a baby that will wake you up in the middle of the night? Why put so much effort into a kid that will not appreciate the effort until far too late in life? All of these can be replicated in the program, and you get none of the inconvenience.

The human race might have just met its hardest foe yet -can we survive when the other option is bliss?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Cure Terrorism or the Flu -I'll choose the latter.

After getting a warning email about how we all need to get more proactive to prevent terrorism, such as notifying authorities immediately upon finding an unattended bag, and being aware of people that frequently visit the Middle East I started to do some reading up on death tools.


"Using State Department figures, he [Alan Harris] assumes a worldwide death rate from international terrorism of 1000 per year--that is, he assumes in his estimate that there would be another 9/11 somewhere in the world every several years."

full article

So say that even including regular 9/11 terrorism this number is a bit low and terrorism is on the rise, so 2000 people a year world wide will die from terrorism each year (twice the projected rate).

Also:

"According to the CIA World Factbook, as of July, 2005, there were approximately 6,446,131,400 people on the planet, and the death rate was approximately 8.78 deaths per 1,000 people a year. According to our nifty desktop calculator, that works out to roughly 56,597,034 people leaving us every year. That's about a 155,000 a day."

full article

So 155k people die each day (56597k a year!), compared to 2k a year from terrorism worldwide.

Even if all 2k people died in one day the death toll for the day would probably not be significantly higher since so many other people die every day.

The flu kills 56k a year in just America according to the CDC. If all terrorist deaths in a year were to occur in America you still would have 28 times the chance of dying from the flu. If we get the flu do we start writing our will?

In the US 43k people die each year in car wrecks. Do we still drive to work every day?

27k people in the US die from poisoning each year. Do you take a food tester with you and use it every time you are about to eat something?

We don't need to shriek in terror from unattended bags, we don't need to "keep an eye on" the tourist from Egypt, and we don't need big brother to "keep us safe".

The fact is that you will not die in a terrorist attack. But you will be affected by the laws that are placed to stop an event that has such a small chance from happening. Our fear is causing us to sacrifice our precious few freedoms, and fear mongering will not help us survive any longer.

To make a real impact on our chances of surviving we should just wash our hands more.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Things I can't do

I think that I can handle almost any task that I am assigned. If I don't already know how to do it, I think that I would have no problem learning how to do it. I figure if somebody else can do something then I should be able to figure it out as well.

However there is something that I am finding out I am terrible at: wiring down letter or numbers while someone tells me them to me. It often happens at work that I get a customer on the phone that I will need to contact later after I have some time to work on the problem, so I must either get their phone number or email address. Oh how I fail at this simple task. Phone numbers I can somewhat handle because they are a set length and there are only ten options for each space and each number sounds different.

Email addresses on the other hand shut my brain off. As soon as letters start getting rattled off I lose all function to write and remember and after I get the first two letters down I am lost until the domain.com part. Then I have them say it again and I get another couple of letters but that is it. I just can't do it. To save the customer from repeating it a third time I just guess at what the other letters should be (usually it is their last name, or can be found in our companies database) and get to work on their problem.

Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Weight Watchers Points Diet

Callie has decided to go on a diet, and after a bit of complaining about the normal boiled chicken diet routine she said that she was going to try to points diet. If she hadn't said anything I would have suggested it because that diet is the only one that I have seen that actually works. (I stole the rest of this from the comment I left after her blog post.)

I never have needed to diet, but people in my wife's family have had to and the points diet is very good, and it will work as long as you follow the rules.

The reason it is so good is the reason why other diets are so bad. Other diets deny food and force a life of crazy weird tasteless food. Who wants to live the rest of their life eating boiled chicken and not sweets, even if they are thin?

The points diet is so good because it teaches people how to eat healthy. And yes even cheese burgers are healthy if eaten in the proper portion, with other food to go with it. The points diet does not deny food, but just makes you justify eating chocolate by showing how many points could be used instead to have a huge dinner.

The best thing is that even after you get tired of counting points you will have a good idea about what you should eat, and how much to eat of it. So a person on the points diet becomes a better person after the diet is over, whereas a person on the other kinds of diets have no better chance as staying fit than before when the diet started.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cargo Bridge

There is something about the "build something and then see how well it does" genre of games that I really like. Cargo Bridge falls right into this category (Fantastic Contraption is another game of this type that I like). The point of Cargo Bridge is to make a bridge that spans a gap or two that is constructed well enough to hold the workers and the cargo. The trick comes in that you only have a limited about of money to buy supplies with so some planning has to be used. The game starts with just wooden pieces that are light and cheap. After a couple of levels there is also an option to use metal pieces which are more rigid, and can have longer spans, but are heavier and cost more. The challenges given always seem fairly easy but they have twists thrown in, so different building style has to be used. This game is getting heavy playing time on my computer, you might want to give it a shot as well.

Oh, also the workers give off a satisfying yell as they fall to their death, so even when I don't make a good bridge I still get some entertainment from it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mom knows best. (p.s. Mom = Government)

Well... it's not like this is a surprise.

The Senate Finance Committee today is hearing proposals on how to pay for President Obama's proposed universal health care plan, which is expected to cost more than $1 trillion. Among the proposals, as Consumer Affairs reports: A three-cent tax on sodas as well as other sugary drinks, including energy and sports drinks like Gatorade. Diet sodas would be exempt.

"While many factors promote weight gain, soft drinks are the only food or beverage that has been shown to increase the risk of overweight and obesity, which, in turn, increase the risk of diabetes, stroke, and many other health problems," Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is pushing the idea, said in his testimony. "Soft drinks are nutritionally worthless…[and] are directly related to weight gain, partly because beverages are more conducive to weight gain than solid foods."

Previously on "As the Government Bans":

You came for the drugs, and I said nothing, because I had no drugs.
You came for the cigarettes, and I said something, because I saw where this was going.
You came for my food, and I am getting really pissed off.
(full post)

Due up in 2012: Ban on trans fat
In the batting circle in 2016: Ban on large portions of food
Clean up in 2024: Ban on "unhealthy" food
(full post)

The "in" thing right now is for cities to ban smoking in public places. This is because "innocent" people (who choose to go to the restaurant or work at the restaurant) have to breathe the second hand smoke.
(full post)

A sin tax is the first step to bannage.

Friday, May 08, 2009

State symbols

Sometimes when I need a good laugh I'll take a look at the lists of state symbols from Wikipedia. Here are some good ones:

Missouri state desert: Ice cream cone. I guess the state senate must have had a majority of people that was lactose intolerant at the time of the vote.

North Carolina state blue berry: With a surprising result, it is the blueberry. Really what else could it have been? Guess what their state straw berry is.

Arkansas state fruit/vegetable: Tomato. They didn't even have the guts to call it one or the other, they just know they like it.

Oklahoma state menu item: Barbecued pork. Chicken fried steak. Sausage. Biscuits and gravy. Fried okra. Squash. Grits. Corn. Black-eyed peas. Cornbread. Pecan Pie. No wonder Oklahoma is one of the fattest states in the Union. It also goes to show why you should wait for voting on state foods until after lunch.

Indiana state beverage: Water. Why did that even come up as a topic to make official?

Delaware state colors: Colonial Blue and Buff.

Georgia state colors: Colonial Blue and Buff. I bet it is going to be awkward when Delaware and Georgia see each other at the dance wearing the same thing.

Maryland state individual sport: Jousting. Jousting? Really? Didn't that happen 500 years ago?

That's all I got for now, but seriously? Ice cream cone?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Words that I read wrong.

For whatever reason there as some words that when I read them I pronounce them in my head incorrectly. They are:

Smoking: On signs I always read this as smorking. I know why too -Engrish.com. Sometimes I have to make a conscious effort to not say smorking instead of smoking when I talk. The strange thing is that I only pronounce this word wrong when it is associated with cigarette smorking.

Parking: Along with smoking parking gets transofrmed in my head to porking (thanks engrish). I don't have as much problems with this word, however I do say this one outloud sometimes, just for personal irony.

Elevator: My strangest mental mispronouciation is elevator which I read as elevatop. I know why I do this; because the Games Workshop store in Manhattan has a sign up that says ELEVATOR but someone took off one of R's legs to change it into a P. Then whenever I would go to the store I would read it and laugh about it (it almost describes what an elevator does better than the actual word). But something happened, and now every time I see a sign for an elevator I read it as elevatop.

I am sure that there are other words that I read incorrectly, but those are the main three.

Monday, April 27, 2009

News is dead. Long live news!

I have been opposed to the idea that bloggers can't cover news as well as "News" organizations, but I can see that the average folk won't put together an investigation piece. However I just stumbled upon a Twitter feed of a "doctor" who pitches "news" ideas to media. Getting an inside view on how "News" actually happens is quite enlightening:

Only one goal in local newsrooms: FIND FIRST SUSPECTED IL SWINE FLU CASE!

Swine Flu Angles: shortage of Tamiflu at your hospital? Increased anxious ER patients? Any use of masks? (TV would love the visual).

Watch Jay Leno story closely. Very high interest. Have expert ASAP if his illness is interesting.

We're told health trumps money. Not in this economy. Media obsession with money stories makes placing health challenging.

Credit Card debt a big story. Nice angle is always "compulsive shopping" treatments. Have an expert? Pitch it!

Once again recession stories dominate. Try to tie any medical advance to cost savings (e.g. new procedure decreases time off work)

Avoid "morning after" pill stories. Too controversial. You can't win.

Another Chicago boy killed by baseball pitch to chest . Offer cardiologist for seasonal "commotio cordis" story.

Large practice needs help getting docs to "buy in" to marketing campaign. Wants me to convince them as fellow doc.

Cute potential story: hospital gowns redesigned to be more modest. New ones at your practice or hospital? Pitch it!

All the stupid jokes on cable news about "tea-bagging?" Just what is journalism turning into?

Typical. MSM first exaggerates risk of NMH TB. Now, having got your attention, slant is to reassure public the risk is minimal.

Just buy good PR? First Chicago Tribune considers "Pay to Play" news stories. Now LA Times front pages "advertorial." NyTimes today.


I kind of had an idea this stuff was going on, but not so blatantly. Pitching pointless stories, working on fear mongering and headline grabbing, even bringing up the idea of pay to get something published. He even has the ironic "why is media covering stupid money stories and not stupid medical stories".

Here is the problem for conventional news organizations. When blogging was just people covering their lives and events that they were immediately effected by the Media could snub their nose at it. However now bloggers include experts in every field, Media just can't keep up with it. If I want to know about new happenings in web start up companies I check TechCrunch, if I want to hear about consumer issues I go to the Consumerist. Media can't compete with this, especially when they think that their angle is to grab headlines and then fill their space with crap and fluff. The end is neigh for the old way to get news, soon the experts will be the ones that we go to for news, and the people that generate the "News" will be out of a job.

Can't come soon enough.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ah, non-memories

I am closing in on 2,500 posts on my blog soon, so it doesn't surprise me that I don't remember everything I have posted. However I don't remember this at all (original post):

"One of the joys of working for a master's degree is getting to know a good amount of people that are not from America. Sometimes they shed light on subjects that I have not ever thought about.

At today's data mining class I brought the rest of my twizzlers that I had started to devour yesterday (I would have ate them all, but I only took half of them with me to class last time.) I offered some of them to my professor (from China) and a classmate (from ?). My prof. tried it and said that they were ok, and tried to get my classmate to try them as well, which she refused. Then my prof. said that: "it was good, kind of like fruit jerky, and smells like toothpaste." Well if I had never tried them before I wouldn't have after that description.

But was it true? Are twizzlers fruit jerky toothpaste mix? I smelt them, and sadly I have to admit they do kind of smell like toothpaste.

Needless to say my classmate never did try them."

I am glad I wrote stuff like that down, cause it is too funny to forget.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The myth of childhood

[Edit: It took me longer than one day to write this post, and in between the days I got a B-Day present from my mom, which was the book Do Hard Things. (I know I'm not a teen, but I think the principle of teens holding themselves to greater goals than what society has set for them is right, so the book interests me.) Anywho, while thumbing through the book I noticed one of the chapter titles was "The Myth of Adolescence", in which they basically were saying the same things that I wanted to here. So my desire to finish this post was shot, however, I didn't want to move on until it was done... so what you get is a half way finished post. Enjoy!]

Having no kids of my own, and not taking any part in raising any I feel that I have quite enough authority to talk about raising kids. Let that set your expectations about how well thought out my post will be.

This weekend I was thinking about the current role of a child in America. We can basically sum it up: go to school and have fun. Any expectations beyond this is definitely not the norm for everyone.

So has this always been the case? In not so modern times have we allowed our children to run free without a care in the world besides school? I doubt it. In fact I bet that children of old would think that our kids were slackers. Should we feel sorry for the kids in the past that had to work more than play? No -I bet their lives we just as happy as our are today. I might even go as far to say that kids now days have less rewarding childhood as those of old.

[Edit: Next is the outline for the rest of the post. You get the idea of where I am going with this.]

School made childhood, which in turn made adulthood.
Now we save all responsibility for adulthood.
No responsibilities prevents children from developing. (Now even college aged students are expected to party instead of learn to actually live, they are in their 20's! You can have fun but be responsible.)
We have shifted to a society that teaches jobs, instead of apprenticing jobs.
Before children would spend their time learning a craft, now they learn books.
It is fairly obvious that learning a craft that can directly lead to a job has more responsibility than learning about things that most likely will not be directly used in a job.
Kids now days have little responsibility and play probably as much as kids of old, however the play they do now is nowhere as developing (video games vs. building forts)

[Edit: That is where my outline ends, but I am sure I would have come to some brilliant conclusion, and then would have ended the post off with yelling at the kids these days to get of my lawn. Pulitzer Prize here I come.]

Friday, April 17, 2009

Nerd!

As an intellectual and a visionary I have to balance my nerd karma, or at least justify the guilty nerd pleasures with activities that are acceptable to the rest of the world. For example my main hobby in life is painting and playing with toy soldiers. The games that I play are made by Games Workshop and range from small skirmish battles to epically large battlefields, all set in various lands of fantasy (there are two time periods that Games Workshops makes games in, one that is clearly pulled from "Lord of the Rings", the other is in the distant future.) I can spend hours painting the models and further hours playing with them, and yes, when no one wants to play with me I have even been known to play the games by myself. But wait, I say, do not feel bad for me, for I am not a total nerd loser.

You see my other main activity in life has been playing hockey. Throughout my time at K-State I played with the hockey club there, and during the season I would spend every other weekend on the road playing games. Not only that, but I was an assistant captain for our team a couple of years and then captain my final year with the team (I also won the MVP for our team one year.) So don't cry for me about being a nerd, I clearly can pull my weight in other areas of my life.

And really I think most people would be ok with me playing with toys and not feel pity or repulsed by it solely because I have another activity in life that I have excelled at that is definitely not a nerdy activity. But why is this? My act of sitting down to paint chunks of plastic and metal are not any different than anyone else's, however because at other times of my life I play a sport it is ok? It seems that our problems with 'nerdy' activities is not an actual bash at the activity itself but the lifestyle that a typical person with that activity holds.

Take video games for example, not too long ago if you were hardcore into video games you would be labeled a nerd. However now there is so many people playing games that we see that you can still be a normal functioning person in society while still finding enjoyment in pressing some buttons on a pad that makes something happen on the TV. Nerdiness must come from perceived lifestyle, not the actual activity involved.

So then why are nerdy activities looked down upon, or why is a nerdy lifestyle generally perceived to be unattractive? I think it has to do with not making a contribution to society. Leveling a night elf to 60 might take a lot of work, but in the real world (IRL for you internet cats) nothing really changes. Drawing comics does not result in great literature, and painting a unit of dwarfs does not actually make my house more protected from intruders. But if I can prove that I can contribute to society through other actions, like leading a hockey team, then my non-contributional free time activities can be overlooked. However, I think that is the wrong way to look at the activities, I feel that I am more successful at work because of the creativity that I used when thinking up scenarios and campaigns. But I think that society does not count building your brain as a useful activity, actually one may say 'nerdy'.

So I urge you to take some time, read some comic books, argue about Captain Picard versus Han Solo in a fist fight, and break out your leggings for the Renaissance Festival. Just remember to contribute to the society while you are at it, lest you be labeled a nerd.

Also avoid Dungeons & Dragons, you don't want to be a dork do you?
(I didn't play D&D growing up, but this video brings back memories of playing Warhammer with my friends in High School.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Backpfeifengesicht

I don't hide the fact that I do not like Owen Wilson. If he is in a movie I will go out of my way to not see it. Sort of like Keanu Reeves, the presence of the actor just changes my ability to enjoy a movie. However, unlike Keanu it isn't his acting that I have a problem with, it is Owen Wilson's face.

For some reason I really can not stand the way he looks, it just drives me crazy. I am sure that it is just his zany nose pose, but it is almost painful for me to watch him. Fortunately for me the Germans have a name for this sort of face: Backpfeifengesicht, meaning a face badly in need of a fist.

I am glad that a whole culture can sum up my feeling of an actor with one extra long word. I guess it shouldn't surprise me that it was the Germans though...

(I did like the move Armageddon though... maybe I was naive then.)
(Oh, also, these guys make me want to go backpfeifengesicht on their face as well.)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Do Blind People See in Heaven?

While watching Family Guy last night I got to pondering something (everyone watches Family Guy and ponders the world at the same time, right?). The joke was that Peter was doing a magic trick for a blind crowd, and asks if he pulled out the proper card. Obviously the blind guy doesn't know what the original card was, so Peter asks if the card was red. The blind guy then yells at him "I don't even know what red is!" Ha, funny indeed.

Well for some reason I got to think about what happens when the blind guy gets to heaven, obviously he would be given the ability to see when he got there, it would be cruel to confine him to an eternity of blindness. But then I got to thinking about people that have extraordinary abilities, such as photographic memories or people that can see four primary colors. For them wouldn't our existence be of similar eternal handicap?

There are only two conclusions that I can come to. Either we go to heaven just as we are (sorry no legged buddy, you just can't make it on the hockey team in heaven), or we will be given so many extra senses that equating our current life to the afterlife would be impossible. I tend to think the latter.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

They are who we thought they were.

I find it amazing that most situations, people, or companies can be gauged within the first couple of moments with them. I guess it shouldn't be surprising that years of natural selection has resulted in humans that are able to accurately discern the nature of a situation within seconds of encountering it, but it still is interesting that we can do it.

It is no secret that I like eating at restaurants, and I will try a place that looks good for fun, however trying to get me to visit a place that doesn't look right is sometimes very difficult. So how do I know what place looks good and what place doesn't? I don't know... but I will give two examples.

Back in my Garden City Community College days I would spend the summers working for my dad up in Longmont, Colorado. There was a smallish restaurant that had an image to it that made we want to try it, I had only drove by the place a few times, but it just looked like a place I wanted to eat. We fianlly were able to stop by the place to give it a try and the line happened to be backed up to the door. We were greeted by a guy working there and in a few minutes everyone in line was given large soda cups for free. I knew then that it was a place that I would love eating at. Little did I know that in the comming couple of years Chipotle would grow from a small Colorado chain to a nationwide burrito awesome fest. Not even concidering the awesome food and the free drinks they gave us, it was obvious just from the look of the building that Chioptle was awesome.

On the other hand there is Goldie's Patio Grill, a Tulsa restaurant tradition. From looking at the sign I knew that the place would be horrible... no udderably horrible. But despite my best judgment one day I decided to give it a shot, really how bad could it be? It turns out that I had overestimated it, the food was barley editable. Even thinking about it triggers a bit of gag reflex in me now. But can I blame them? Not really, as soon as I saw the sign I knew that the place was not for me, at all.

My point is that we have "gut feelings" for a reason -they help us survive. Our ancestors that knew that a cave just didn't seem right, or felt that one water hole was better to drink out of than another, was able to survive better when those hunches were triggered unconsiously by observing the slightly visible cues. Fortunatly we don't need to use these feelings to keep us alive (for the most part) anymore, but we still have them and we can use them for our benifit. If there is a situation, or a store, or a person that just doesn't seem right, it propbably isn't. You might not know why you feel that way but we have an inate ability to process more than just what we think, and something in your brain has thrown up a warning flag. It is usually prudent to at least acknolwedge the feeling.

Now, I'm not saying to make snap judgements about people or decisions, but I am going to say that the first reaction is most likely the one that you will come to in the end after careful thought. Call me crazy, but I just have a hunch about that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rivals

There is really only one city that I love, Garden City, Kansas. Sure there are cities that I like more than others: Denver, Tulsa, Wichita, and Manhattan (KS). But these cities are just places I like and I want them to succeed just so that I have more things to do while visiting or living in them. However, I want Garden City to succeed because of the city and the people in the city -I know that I am biased but it really is a good city.

Almost as much as I like Garden City I tend to dislike Dodge City, Garden City's rival town. Yes, THAT Dodge City; the smaller, dirtier, Applebee's in Boothill, "special" cousin of Garden City. There are a few reasons why our cities are rivalies. First is city size, we both have approximatly around 30,000 residents, Garden being a little bit larger. Second is that the trip over to Dodge is less than an hour away, so the cities are spread far enough apart that there isn't constant interaction between each other, however they are close enough that decisions in one town can effect the other. Third, there is no other sizeable towns in the area. The next biggest town to the east is Wichita (200 miles away), to the south is Amarillio (230 miles away), to the west is Colorado Springs (250 miles away), and to the north is Rapid City South Dakota (580 miles away). This means that there is no other local town to draw away the "rival spirit" from. There is no question that Garden City and Dodge City are rivals.

However our rivaly is not just limited to sports. The proximity of the two cites makes luring businiess a tricky ordeal. Sometimes when a buisness desides to move into the area they build in both cities at the same time, which was the case when Applebee's moved into both towns. Most of the time though a company will only chose one city to build in. News that something is going to be built in Garden is doubly good becuase that means that not only do we get a new store, but chances are Dodge City will be shut out for also getting the same store. With every step forward Garden City takes Dodge City doesn't just fall back because we moved up, they fall back because they are now prevented from taking the same step forward. So stems why some of the rivalry is so intense.

My main point here though isn't to just point out that Dodge City sucks; because they have a meat packing plant in the middle of their town and that the smell of the refined fat is nauseating, nor that I had never seen a cockroach in real life until someone brought one back in a blanket that they used in Dodge. No, my point with this post is to say that having a rival is important for building a strong community. I know that poeple in Garden try harder than they would normally just because they want our city to be better than Dodge. The proximity of a similar town keeps the pressure on everone to keep on improving. And for that I am thankful that Dodge City is around.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How I Belive in God

I find it amazing that people are basically split into two groups, those that believe in God and those that believe in science. I, for one, believe in both. Here is how:

1. The Bible can not be taken literally. There are many places in which Bible experts explain confusing or seemingly contradictory passages by looking at what these passages mean for the people of the times of the Bible. They use the culture and the language of the era to show what each passage means when taken in context. Now why we must abandon this sort of interpretation (from the standpoint of somebody with a 1AD understanding of science) when it comes to matters of science is beyond my comprehension. Was the world made in seven days? No –that goes against the laws of the universe, God doesn’t need to break his own rules to make earth. Were seven days figurative to represent to cycle of the formation of earth and life? That seems more reasonable. We should not use a book given to us as a work of religion as a text for science. God gave us the ability to perform experiments, to think the results that we get from science are there to intentionally mislead us is tomfoolery.

2. Miracles are in the timing. For some reason when "miracles" are explained by natural phenomenon this ruffles some feathers of the devout. I think that we need to stop thinking about miracles as the action but instead as the timing. I find the idea of God needing miracles to direct human history as a bit degrading to his power. Think about it -there are thousands of parameters that need to be set to make the whole universe contain matter that doesn't just degenerate into a soup of energy waves, yet we are to believe that he didn't plan ahead enough to part the Red Sea at the right time? God has already set into motion every miracle that will happen, and they will play out through provable science techniques. Saying that God has to change the rules of the universe just because of actions of people is mighty arrogant of our part. The miracle not that the Red Sea was parted, the miracle is that it parted when it did.

3. Science only leads to more questions. When it comes to the nature of the universe science is very good at opening doors but very terrible at closing them. Instead of four elements (earth, fire, wind, air) we now have 117 elements, which can be broken down into subatomic particles which have anti-particles, which are possibly all made up of infinity thin quantum strings which adhere to quantum mechanics that dictate that every possible outcome does actually happen. ...Right... Currently science is saying we have no idea how the basic building blocks of the universe work. Even when we figure out a unified theory of everything it will just lead to a pile of new questions that need to be answered, which in turn will lead to even more questions. I don't understand why learning about the universe that God placed us in is somehow a violation of God. I trust that if there is something that he does not want us to know about he would have the ability to hide it from us. Heck, there might be all the puppet masters in a parallel universe pulling their strings into this one, and we have no way to detect it. This point is that for me science does not make God worthless, instead it shows us how much there actually is to all of this, it makes God all the more needed to make the ends meet. There are true answers to the questions- however the more we learn about our surroundings the less we “know” the answers.

4. God can not be proven/disproven. It seems to be quite obvious that God can not be proven or disproven by science. And to think that we can do so is akin to thinking that we can prove that there is a city named Boston by measuring the temperature that water boils at. The nature of science is so far away from being able to disprove God that to think that we could through experiment is vastly overestimating our abilities as humans, and quite arrogant.

You will see that I have shied away from the topics of why I should believe in God and all the stuff like that that normal discussion of God turns to. That is really quite another subject, and one of even more faith. The bottom line of this post is just to point out that science and God can co-exist, much like a car and a driver. Figuring out how the car works has no relation as to why it does.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Music Catch 2

Music Catch is a very simple game where you want to get blue, yellow and purple while avoiding red objects. While the rules are simple the game is quite fun because of the presentation. If you need a couple minutes of relaxing give this one a shot.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

NCAA Expands March Madness To 4,096 Teams


NCAA Expands March Madness To Include 4,096 Teams

Just a reminder if we go to a playoffs in NCAA Football, the teams that make it to the playoffs are only there because they legitimately could be number one, not because they "deserve to make it to the playoffs".

But I do agree that Xenon will take the Central Kansas Region, and my money is on the Oklahoma Horseshoeing School in the Southern Oklahoma Region.

Friday, March 06, 2009

"Hello Lance"

I have been requested to explain why I have a shirt that says "Hello Lance" on it, so that I shall do. It all began when they built a Hobby Lobby in Manhattan back when I was going to grad school. We were walking around and noticed that you could buy blank t-shirts and iron on letters for a good price. So we bought a couple of shirts and a couple sets of iron on letters.

Then came the hard part -thinking of something to actually write on the shirts. Nicole decided upon a shirt that said "Snotvia" in homage of her homeland. Jenette made a "Nani?" shirt, and Chris made his that said "Don't be a wanker". I thought about mine for a bit and went for "Chinastronaut". However after I made it I realized that there were a few people in the Stat. Dept. from China that might not like the idea that I was aspiring to be an astronaut from China, also, I didn't want to have to explain my obviously funny t-shirt to them. So I had to make another t-shirt.

I pondered over another shirt for a bit and thought that it would be funny to make a shirt that says hello to somebody, and the best person that I could have thought of was my K-State office buddy Lance. So I made a shirt that would greet him every time he saw it. "Hello Lance" was thus decided upon.

I wore the shirt a couple times at K-State and then it got packed up when I needed space in my apartment closet. I had forgotten all about it until I looked through my old boxed clothes and ever since it has been back in my regular t-shirt rotation.

I think I still have all the stuff to make two more shirts... I need to get on that.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Intent

When I become the king of the world, (yes, the king -I don't want to have to deal with re-election issues every couple of years) I will mandate that all laws shall have their intent recorded with the actual law. then when enforcing the law if there is a case that technically breaks the law but is not included in the intent of the law it shall not be counted as breaking the law.
An example would be jaywalking, clearly the intent of the law is to stop people form crossing the road at any point so that cars have an idea of where to expect pedestrians. Now there was a story in the news where a person helped out some old ladies cross the street but got a jaywalking ticket for doing so. He obviously wasn't crossing the street just to get to the other side, but to help someone out.

I would also mandate that every city that has more than 5,000 residents have an official soccer team and make a massive worldwide league.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Building a Better Football Poll

One of the things I have been thinking about lately is a way to build a completely objective football ranking system that accounts for the quality of play on the field and can not be "gamed" by coaches.

The original idea of a way to include quality of win was by looking at the win margin. It is obvious that a team that won by a large margin is much better than a team that won by only a small margin against the same team. However football coaches knew that this was a factor so when they played easy teams the would pile on the points to help out their rankings. I believe now the computer components of the BCS are not allowed to take the margin of victory in to account when they make their rankings. So this lead me on to think about ways we can measure how good a team is, more than by just who they beat.

The first measurement I want to propose is to look at the "Time of Win". That is, how much time was left on the game clock when the eventual score that won the game was made. So if a team runs back the opening kickoff and then holds their opponents to less than a touchdown for the whole game, their Time of Win would be essentially 60 minutes, where as a hail marry at then end of the game would result in a Time of Win of a couple of seconds. This measurement would allow polls to take into consideration how much one team dominated another without encouraging the scoring to spiral out of hand. It would, however, make the teams play defense throughout the game.

I thought of a second good measurement last night while laying in bed: Offensive Yards per Point. This number would incorporate a few aspects of a teams performance into one figure. It would measure how well a team can finish off long drives, reward teams for creating turnovers, and also give a bonus for a team that has a good kick return game. It also would be somewhat difficult to game because scoring as many points with the fewest amounts of yards obtained is already a primary goal for coaches, so they can't really make much of a game plan change to reflect this being measured.

Other factors that I would consider would be power rankings, like the Massey rankings, which looks at who beats who. Also if the game was home or away. I would also like to include a couple of other measurements but it is kind of hard to think about relevant ones that can't be taken advantage of. Anyone else have any good ideas for ways to build a better football polling system?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Heroes

Update: My dad has a follow-up post here.

This morning I read an article about some construction workers that are building a new edition to a cancer treatment building. They have been spray painting the names of the children in the hospital on the girders as they go up. Take a second and read the article about it here. (No really, I would rather you read that article than go on and read the rest of what I have to say.)

There is a video about this on YouTube, where in the comments Katie (well xoxkatie127xox to be correct) says:

the KATIE sign in the window at 40 sec was mine and i was treated at the jimmy fund when i was three and to this day i remember my name oh the iron across the street and remember how excited i would get and how special it made me feel... these men were heros

When I first read this comment I thought: "Those aren't heroes, they didn't do anything heroic." But I thought about it, and I think that my first thought couldn't be further from the truth. I think that these guys are a prime example of being a hero.
We get caught up in what movies and TV shows make out to be heroes, the daring of James Bond, the evil fighting of Batman, and the goodness of Frodo. We forget that we can be heroes, and we don't have to have some super power to do it.
I don't know what the definition of a hero says, and I don't really care, because there is nothing more like a hero to those kids than what these construction workers are doing. They aren't saving the kids from cancer, they are just making them feel special.
Real life heroes don't save the lives and do good deeds, day in and day out, instead they touch lives and make life better for those that they encounter.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why the Bears are not a dynasty

Here are my thoughts on the questions that I posed before. Looking at the data three teams bring up question marks about their place as a dynasty in the NFL. The Bears of 84-88 who were not classified as a dynasty the first time I looked at the data. The Bills of 88-93 who were counted as a dynasty, yet never won a Super Bowl during this time. And the Rams of 99-01, whose rise to power was dramatic however their team was quickly eclipsed by the Patriots. The Rams also never reached the height that other teams that are considered a dynasty did. Below is a plot of those teams with other relevant teams plotted around them. Each point on the plot is the teams' five year average of playoff performance, with a weighting further rounds more heavily.
1. Can there be more than one dynasty at a time?
I do not think so. I think that there can be two really good teams at the same time, but I don't think that the second best team over a span of time can be called a dynasty. This leads me down a path that I don't particularly like though, since I do not like having two dynasties at the same time I must ignore a team that is building until it is the best team, this means that when I look back at when a team is a dynasty I can not include the previous years that it was building up to be the dynasty team.
The larger implication of one dynasty team at a time has is that it is possible that there could be two teams that trade off Super Bowl wins over a couple of years but only one team can be named the dynasty for that time. This is my main argument against the Bears being a dynasty team. It turns out that during the same years that they were good the 49ers were even better. You can see in the chart above that for every spot along the graph the 49ers were still averaging a better playoff performance for the same time. More about this in question three.

2. How important is the regular season, how important is the playoffs?
I agree with most people here. The regular season is important but performance in the playoffs is what makes the team a legend. Lance made a good point of the 15-1 Vikings from 1998, they had an awesome regular season but history generally pushes that off to the side when talking about the 98 season, we know the Falcons went to the Super Bowl that year, we don't all know the Vikings great regular season.
I have though about adding a small component of the analysis that takes into account how well a team did over their regular season, but since I don't have the data already typed up I believe that it isn’t that important.

3. You can't just look at one year at a time, so how many years do we look at?
This is probably the trickiest question here. First because the span of years to look at changes which teams are considered the best, for example for we look at a four year average the Bears do become the best team for two years. Secondly it really seems like there should be a mathematical way to define how long of a span than we should look at, however I can't think of a way that satisfies me completely.
First let me explain the way which I decided upon 5 years. The initial thoughts were because it just seemed like a good round number to deal with; however hunches are not good since we are trying to let the data do the talking for us. So the idea that I came up with is to look at the length of playoff streaks (years in a row that teams went to the playoffs). Below I made a chart of the length of all the playoff streaks.
This seems to suggest that we should look at 4 or more years since a playoff streak of that length is better than the average streak. However if we look at playoff streaks that allow one year skips (so over four years a team goes to the playoffs 3 times, it still would count as a three year streak), we see that 5 or more years is above the ordinary length of a streak.
I will argue that the "One Skip" is a reasonable way to look at this problem, since we agree that missing the playoffs one year during a dominant stretch should not disqualify a team for being considered a dynasty.
Now if we look at a chart of 5,6 and 7 years we find that there isn't too much change among the three graphs, however the longer the span the smoother the ride at the top seems to be. Also with the 7 year average we see then the Bills and Rams are knocked out of being the top team. Does this give credit to the idea of a 7 year span?



4. Is winning the championship the only quality that makes a dynasty?
When I looked at this data I used a scoring system that favored winning in the playoffs. A team got 1 point for losing the Wildcard game, 2 points for losing the Divisional game, 3 points for losing the Conference Championship game, 5 points for losing the Super Bowl and 7 points for winning the Super Bowl. This was my way to weight the teams performance where getting to the Super Bowl was more important than just getting to the playoffs.
Earl suggested that winning the Super Bowl is the only thing that defines a dynasty team, he suggested that if a team wins it 3 times out of 6 years then that would be grounds for declaring a dynasty. Let's see how a chart of winning the Super Bowl looks (over 6 years):

Using this criterion we find three dynasties, the 49ers the Cowboys and the Patriots. I don't think that anyone would argue that these three teams are dynasties, so this method does work. However I believe that it is just a bit too conservative when looking for the good teams (also it is so straight-forward that it isn't much fun to talk about ^_^).

5. Can a dynasty last for only one season?
Take a look at the Steelers and the Raiders here. Both teams are the best team only one year, the Raiders in 1983 and the Steelers in 2008.

My initial thought was to disallow these two teams from being considered a dynasty because they were on the top for only one year. However, I have thought about this a bit more and I think that they are OK. Each point on the plot is actually 5 years of data combined, so that means that over the last 5 years that team was the best, not just that one year. Even if a team later eclipses the teams performance that should not take away the accomplishments made for those five years. Say the Steelers get overtaken next year by the Colts. That still means that for the last 5 years the Steelers have been the best team. (I have run the numbers and basically the only way the Steelers to lose their top spot is for the Colts to make it to the Super Bowl next year.)

That settles it right? :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sports Dynasties

Some questions that I have when thinking about what makes a dynasty in sports.

1. Can there be more than one dynasty at a time?

2. How important is the regular season, how important is the playoffs?

3. You can't just look at one year at a time, so how many years do we look at?

4. Is winning the championship the only quality that makes a dynasty?

5. Can a dynasty last for only one season? (This question is somewhat related to the first question since only allowing one dynasty at a time means that some dynasties will get clipped to a very short time frame.)

I will give my answers soon to these questions when I think about them a bit more.

Sidenote: Is there anything that Obama can't do?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Ponderables

Currently I am working on a follow up to the last post I made about dynasties in the NFL, addressing questions like how long of a time span should we look at at one time, can there be two dynasties at the same time, does more than playoff performance matter, and other ponderables. If you have any thoughts about what defines a dynasty, and it doesn't just have to be in the NFL, I would like to hear them.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Know Thy Football History (Part II)

First I should congratulate the Cardinals and Steelers on a well played, very entertaining Super Bowl. The Cards weren't given much of a chance going into the game, but I think next year people will take the more seriously. As always we had a good time at the Super Bowl party which was held at Nicole's mom's house this year. You can find out more about our party here and here.

OK, now for the football history. Leading up to the Super Bowl I was thinking about how to define and mathematically find NFL "Dynasties". My first thought would be just to look at overall records for each year including playoffs. However, when I thought about qualities of a successful team in the NFL their regular season record has little consequence in the long run. I don't think anyone would classify Patriot's season this year as successful even though they went 11-5 in the regular season. History really only remembers the teams that make it to the playoffs, so I know that I needed to look solely at the playoffs to find which teams were dominate throughout the recent history of the NFL.

What we decided upon was to give points to each team for how far they made it in the playoffs each year. Then I looked at the 5 year moving average of each teams success in the playoffs. After all the data was compiled I got the following graph. (Note: I removed any team that was not the best team at any point, the lower part of the graph was pretty crowded.)


From this graph we see that the Cowboys have been the most dominate team at any one point, with their height at 1993. (93 Dyn5 means that I am looking at 1991-1995, 93 is the center point of the average.) Also, recently the Patriots have been the team to beat although with the Steelers win in Super Bowl XLIII they are now the team. It is interesting to see that besides the 49ers most teams have a pretty regular peaking cycle that has their rise to power about as swift as their fall.

According to my analysis, these are the football NFL Dynasties for the "modern" era of football (1978 on). I am shifting my years, so that each year listed is at the end of the average, so 1982 means I am looking at playoff performance from 1978 to 1982.

1982: Cowboys
1983: Raiders
1984-85: 49ers
1986-87: Redskins
1988-92: 49ers
1993-94: Bills
1995-96: Cowboys
1997-99: Packers
1999-2001: Broncos
2002-03: Rams
2004-07: Patriots
2008: Steelers
*Both the Packers and the Broncos had the same rating in 1999.

So what does this mean for current football history? It looks like the Patriots are on their way out, it is hard for me to think that this is possible since their team still has a good core but they are heading downwards. Also it looks like the Steelers are on their way to being the dominate team for a couple of years. Looking at the full graph the only other teams that are tracking significantly up are the Giants, Chargers and Cardinals, so they are the teams to watch for the next couple of years.

Know Thy Football History Part I

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Easy Quick Million

Just had an idea. To make cleaning key boards easier they should come with crumb trays that you can pull out to clean, like a toaster.

This is just one of the many good, no, great ideas I have each and every day.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Steal me


A quick bit of art that I did on my tablet while listening to Jupiter Sunrise (clicky for huge version). Here is the song that this is from (take a listen, it is good).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

About Color

Growing up in Garden City (Kansas) has allowed me to have a completely different outlook on the subject of race relations in America. Garden didn't have that many blacks but more than 50% of the population is made up of "minorities", mainly mexican and asian. When I was younger the idea that someone is judged solely on race was an idea that I had thought lived in the past, since it was never a case in Garden (that I saw).

My ideas started to change when (ironically) I got to college. I noticed that some people were treated slightly different, but nothing really that huge. During the same time I would grimace when I would overhear a group of white students talk in the coffee house about race relations and about how everyone was raciest out in western Kansas because we don't have blacks, and that they had a black friend, or whatever snooty thing they would say.

One major observation occurred when I went to a graduation at college and they talked about how going to college is good because of the "integration" that it has. Then I went back to a high school graduation at Garden. That was integration, there we had mexican families celebrating with white families, asain parents talking to black parents (Garden has gained a fair amount of black population recently). Mixed race families were common. No one mentioned race during graduation, and no one talked about a need to work together. That is just the way life is.

Currently I live in Tulsa and I have no doubt that racism goes on. People here make it quite obvious that people of mexican heritage are on a lower rung than the privileged whites. Ironically everyone here also has some sort of reverend for native americans, probably because they feel guilt for living in "their land". At times the comments are annoying, at times they are infuriating. I really had no idea that so many people made their decisions about people based off of what they thought their heritage was.

Now let's move to the election of Obama. We all have heard about how it was a historic day because he was black. But there has been some outcry because of this, take for example this thread on BGG on a topic about the significance of Obama's color:


stayman:I was mentioning to my 7 year old son that we have a new President. He says, "yeah dad, it's Barack". I then mention that it's kinda historic day, to which he seems puzzled. I explain he's the first African American President. He was still puzzled.
It then occured to me that my son (remember he's 7) is utterly and completely oblivious to race.

jpat:I say this without any criticism, but I seriously doubt that your son (or anyone else's in this country) is complete oblivious to race. While he may well not be bigoted, it's nigh-impossible to be unconscious of it. Nor do I think colorblindness (or "postracialness") is a goal we can afford at this juncture in our political history. It's too much to me like forgetting rather than forgiving, and it's often been an ideal promoted by whites, who as a group have been able to "afford," in a broad sense, to ignore race.


To that I replied

As a white person I view the election of Obama, as "the best person for the job won". However I think the black population as a whole felt that the election showed that really ANYONE could make it, and a fulfillment of MLK Jr.'s Dream. So I think the significance for the day is different for each race.

That being said I believe that race can be as non-issue as hair color if we let it be. When was the last time that the press questioned the lack of red heads in coaching positions? Race should only tell people about your heritage, like eye color, or height, not who you are.


The thing is that the election of Obama is a historic day. And it is historic like Jackie Robinson playing MLB baseball, or Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech. As a matter of fact it is even bigger than those, because yesterday Obama proved that there is no excuse that anyone can't become the most powerful person in America (the world?). The truth is that until someone actually fulfilled that spot, like Obama did, it was still an unrealized dream. But now there is credit, an example, when someone says that anyone can make it, just look at who has done it in the past.

It was a historic day for everyone. But here is my personal hope now. We have witnessed the last, greatest, "barrier" being broken down. Race should now not be an issue. I don't ever want to hear about how someone was the first black to win the curling championship. I don't want to know that no mexican has ever been vice president. It is not news anymore, Obama was the last one, the biggest one. The only way that this stuff will continue to be news is if we let it be news. It must stop.

It would be stupid to say that racisim is over, it is not, I know that. But the fact is that most people are good, and most people do not make decisions based on race. To allow the news, and the "minorities" to cling to the idea that failures occurred in life is due to race, without proof, is a disgrace and a disservice to them. We should not expect "minorities" to get ahead in life in spite of their race, we should expect them to get ahead in life due to their own hard work and abilities.

We are now past the issue of race in terms of something that makes barriers for people.

A final related anecdote. At some point when I was going to college it was asked of me if I know anyone who was black. I thought about it for a long time and said no, noting that Garden doesn't have many blacks in general. But then I remembered, one of my best friends in Garden had a black step-father. I would saw him multiple times each week. I had forgotten that he was even black; to me he was just his dad, and I should say -a really cool guy. I am thankful that I had that experience because that showed me that it is possible to be "colorblind", and not see someone for the race that they are born with, but by the character of their soul.