Saturday, October 25, 2008

Chicago's back

I'm watching the Wings-Hawks game tonight, and in the background, in the third period, I hear two chants ... can't tell the first, but the second one is clearly "Detroit sucks!" (Or is it "Detroit's Cup"? Because we have it now, you know.)

It's good to hear. Why? Because there were 22,000 people in the United Center, a regular-season record. If you're not aware of the importance of that, well, Chicago's been in the league longer than John McCain's been alive. Finally, the new generation is washing away the disrepair into which the franchise had fallen.

Oh, and the game? Right after the chant, Datsyuk scored to tie it at 4. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Recession? It's all in our heads.

Yeahright. I was just catching up on my mileage today (I track it, yes I do, every time I fill up the hybrid), and I noticed something.

9/30 ... $3.569
10/10 ... $2.779

In 10 days, the price of gas fell about 80 cents a gallon around here. Now, it was really more like 60-65 cents, because the 9/30 purchase was probably up by my house, and the 10/10 purchase was near work, but still.

It gets even better when I add in the previous entry.

9/20 ... $3.839

Twenty days, $1.06 off the price of a gallon of gas.

Yeah, things being cheaper is a nice thing. Unless they are things you own. And you know gas prices aren't the only falling prices ...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Physics

So I'm leading Penn State 10-3 (no, I'm Army, we actually took Indiana's spot in the Big Ten), and they're driving at home to tie it. Second and goal at the 4. TD pass over the middle to the TE. Funny, I thought he was covered, so I look at the replay.

Apparently his QB has special powers, because he threw the ball right through my safety's arm.

Nice. I didn't realize EA kept the "computer needs to win" setting in today's games.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The way politics ought to be

Ever heard of the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner? Me either. You know about it now, though.

Why? Well, it's an annual event (these are links to the 63rd, from earlier this week), and both candidates were invited to speak.

Oh, by the way, it's a roast.

Are they funny?

McCain part 1
McCain part 2

Obama part 1
Obama part 2

Obama is a better speaker, I think. He definitely gets the timing down. McCain may not quite be in his element, but I'll tell you what, he is absolutely funny.

It's a shame we don't get to see them like this more often.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son

Well, I never really had to worry about the last item. I was strongly encouraged to give up the second item. (Law enforcement personnel can do wonders for you.) Now, that first item ... um ...

I was poking around my Excel neighborhood, trying to find further evidence that my cholesterol has always been good (unlike some people I know), and I found a file called Health.xls. Naturally, this is what I wanted.

I open it up, and no, there's no cholesterol in here ... but there are weight readings.

Let me explain. I am a compulsive data taker. I like to record things. Everything. I have tons of useless or nearly-useless data all over the place. I used to weigh myself every day (yes, I know, you're not supposed to), and I'd type it into this neat little workbook, complete with line graphs and automatic formatting on the numbers.

So first I see a lot of blue (decent), a lot of green (good), and a little red (not so good). And I scroll down to the bottom, where I have max and min rows, and I see ... 160.6.

And a long string of green surrounding it. For about eight months, apparently I weighed less than 170, and on December 1, 2004, I weighed 160.6.

This is somewhat disappointing. I had hoped that I'd only been able to drop to 170, and thus my current "goal" would be reasonable, but no ... there is unmistakable evidence that the cats have not been sneaking hot water into my closet and carefully soaking all of my pants, just to get even with me for, um, something.

Now, the problem is that recording data is not the same as using it, and it was clear that I was not using it. The data stops around October 4, 2005, when I weighed 175, and it's pretty clear that ever since, I've been steadily adding weight.

We did a health assessment in September. (Free!) I scored below the national average. Why? Well, I don't eat that well, I don't sleep enough, I don't avoid germs well (funny, I don't get sick often) ... and I need to lose weight.

My BMI is 27.9. Now BMI is a really, really crude way of measuring obesity, but let's face it, you don't really need a number like that to tell you what you need to do. Even at 5'9" (+1 to the screener for rounding my height up, and another +1 because I got an extra half-inch that required the rounding up), 185 is not acceptable. (Well, it was 189, but I was wearing clothes. I mean, who weighs themselves in full work clothes at home?)

So I have 25 pounds to lose by April 1. Why then? I'll be 41.5. I need a specific goal or it's not a goal. And because I said so.

Of course, the problem will be keeping it off, not removing it in the first place. Unfortunately, losing weight has always been relatively easy for me when I've tried, so I don't try hard enough to keep my weight down. You'd think seeing my dad and his dad ballooning in their 40s and 50s (well, my grandfather; my dad was 49 when he died) would have made a difference, but not yet, apparently.

But for now, I have a goal, and the clock is running. Eating better, exercising more (and not just playing DDR) ... sigh.

Of course, it could be worse. I could be dead, or diabetic, or a dying diabetic. Fortunately, the only numbers that weren't so hot on my screening (from the blood work) were my hematocrit percentage (borderline high, likely from dehydration), HDL (borderline low, need more exercise), and LDL (pretty high, need more fiber and less fat). Pretty much everything else was square in the middle.

Good health is a great gift. I'll try not to waste it.

Stupid people suck

Unfortunate news to report: my good friend ems was in a car accident today. Some idiot ran a red light, nearly T-boned her, and then claimed this was an alternate universe where green means stop and red means go. (I had a similar experience years ago; fortunately in my case, the idiot was so dumb that I had actually turned into the intersection and was parallel to her when she ran the light.) She's shaken up and will be sore tomorrow, but nothing's broken or punctured.

Her car took the impact well. Quite a bit of damage from what I understand, but all on the driver's side (the left rear, not the left front). Probably lots of repairs, and all on the other driver's tab. Of course that doesn't restore your confidence in driving or the purity of your car's parts, but it could have been a lot worse.

If you could wish her well tonight in whatever way you would normally do so, I would appreciate it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Phil Luckett works for EA

I just realized this bug.

If you lose the toss, it doesn't matter which end zone you want to defend. EA will assign you the one at the bottom of the screen, I think ... at least it doesn't care which one you choose. Two out of three tosses, I took the wind, but didn't get it.

Didn't get it? Yeah, that would be EA.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bugs that make you go "hmmm"

Kickoff return. We force a fumble at the 24 and recover it. But we're called for a face mask. Opponents get the ball ... at our 39.

Yep, that's EA Sports Quality Control for you.

Update: The very next game I played in our online dynasty, I'm up 7-0 and returning a punt. We fumble and it's returned for a TD (ah, the old EA trick of forcing you to give it the ball) ... but wait, there's a penalty! So I already knew what would happen, and sure enough, we got the ball on their side of the field.

I'm not saying I did this on purpose, but we won 41-12. It was 24-12 and we could have run out the clock, but this was more fun: TD, then we ran back an INT for another one, then we ran an INT to the 11 and kicked a FG as time expired.

Yes, it was for the Bucket. :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

More of the same

-- We'll see just how much of a "maverick" John McCain is the first time the Democratic-controlled Senate votes on a bill for President Obama to sign. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that he will vote straight party-line for the rest of his term.

-- If you're a Republican office-holder in Alaska, and you don't have a calendar on your wall counting down the days until you can declare your candidacy for the primary for governor, you're on your way to get one right now. (It's like 4:45 in Alaska right now. You've got plenty of time to find one before the stores close. Unless they're all sold out.)

-- Yes, I know I should be finishing my homework. It's a strange question and I'm not yet sure how to answer it. Besides, it's not like I'm watching the Wings' season opener or anything. (Actually, I'm not. So there. :P)

-- Flex is pretty cool. It's too bad Adobe documents its products so poorly. That's probably the biggest reason why there aren't as many CF developers as you'd think: it's more trouble to learn on its own than it's worth for many people.

-- If it's United Way time in your neck of the woods, I'd encourage you to look into it, read about some member agencies, and see if there's a cause that you support. Times are definitely tough for a lot of people right now, but hopefully some of you are like me and are still fortunate enough to have a little to give to others. Remember guys like Walter Payton saying, "Thanks to you, it works for all of us. The United Way."? Yeah, it's that cool.

-- I would really like to buy Saints Row 2. I really don't have the time to play it right now. What's the Powerball jackpot this week?

-- I wonder if I'd continue with my master's work if I won. I mean, it would be cool to get, and it would give me something to do, and of course I could always do consulting work, but really, would I? We'll never know.

-- Actually, no, I'd be spending 10-15 hours per week writing up detailed salary-cap strategies and sending them to Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew.

-- I was reminded of my high tolerance for pain today. I caught my finger between the cabinet underneath the sink and a full box of Cascade (hold the top of the box, lift up quickly, ouch). I believe I said a word that George Carlin would recognize. A little blood, no big deal. (Insert old-man-sports-story: blah blah broke finger blah blah wallyball blah blah kept playing blah blah doctor two weeks later. It really didn't hurt much, other than when I broke it. Now I use it to predict earthquakes.)

-- Joe Tiller has given up on this season. I wish I could make that much money doing that poorly at something, not care at all, and get away with it.

All right. Back to the books.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Stuff, and stuff, and stuff

Random thoughts while I attempt to keep my homework at arm's length ...

-- My Xbox 360 streak is over 300 days. I've been holding off on trying the Endless Setlist on Hard/Hard until the streak ends so that I can leave the 360 on overnight if I need to take a break.

-- If you're still wondering why this house has hosted a number of naked women somewhere between 1/pi and -3, the preceding paragraph should have cleared that up for you.

-- The fact that I can spend 15 minutes discussing virtually any aspect of any sport with any audience, but struggle to explain why defect reduction improves the functionality of software, occasionally gives me pause for thought when considering my career choices. However, the road to bankruptcy is littered with the bones of those who wanted to be sportscasters, or something like that, and I've found my way far enough along that path, thank you very much. I like what I do and I like being paid.

-- If cats could type, would they create lolpeople?

-- Yes, I know, they would need to use pointing devices as well.

More thoughts to come. I have two questions to answer tonight.

10:58 PM: Well, I answered one of two, plus finished my charting from last week, so I'm mostly caught up. One more question tomorrow, charting Friday, and I'll be fine.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Just in case ...

... you watched the debate, and you somehow came away with a non-negative impression of McCain, that probably means you forgot his first decision as a Presidential candidate.

As a public service, I'll ask Keith Olbermann to remind you.

Monday, October 06, 2008

S-m-r-t

So, I've been resisting the activation of credit cards that I have and don't need because ... um ... yeah. (Obviously this is dumb. I know that. Well, okay, I've recently admitted it.)

Anyway, I read on the Consumerist that you might not want to let old credit cards just sit around idly, in case a well-meaning bank decides you don't need them any more. (Again, obviously you would want to buy something small and pay the balance all at once.) Now, this is only a problem if you carry a balance on your other cards, and only then if the card they close represents a significant percentage of your available credit. If you have $100K in credit (I don't, no, it's an example, quiet down), but you're carrying a total balance of $40K, and your bank closes a $30K card, not only are they cutting off their face to spite their face, but you're suddenly moving from using 40% of your available credit to 57% of your available credit, not so good. (No, I would not be anywhere near that figure. Stop already.)

So I went to activate my Crappybank AT&Monopoly card. Call now, it says. Activate online, I says. So I hop online, enter my two-year-old password (yes I know I should change it more often, and if you don't stop interrupting I will turn this car around right now and go home), and here we go ... let's see ... enter the security code from the back of the old card.

Um, yeah. I, um, kind of shredded it, because, see ... yeah.

So I have to call, and surprise, you have to know it on the phone as well. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. In fact, it's a good security measure. I just made a mistake, that's all.) So I have to speak to a CSR. She's somewhat helpful, although she pretends that she doesn't know what I'm trying to do, and she's equally mysterious about the "password." (At other banks, this is known as the "security question", and they give you the hint so you know what the hell question you're answering. There was no way to get the hint online, and I had to threaten to answer every one of their questions until I got the right one in order for her to tell me which question it was.)

So she tried a fast-talking wanttosignupforthisgreatprotectionprogramnookayhowabout10000worthofcoverage, and I politely said no thank you. She tried some other credit thing, maybe another line of credit (um, as you can see, I don't use yours, no thanks), and after no to that, that was it.

It wasn't quite as bad as before, but it's not USAA. Still, they're making progress.

Now, to use the card once and then lock it away for two years ...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Vice-presidential ... debate?

If you can watch that and still believe that Sarah Palin is qualified for any office, much less VP of the United States, may your higher power have mercy on your soul.
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