Wednesday, August 31, 2016


I totally forgot the actual ending of the "Teamwork" post, so I updated when I remembered it just now.


We have so much time driving to/from the rink, and so many enjoyable conversations, that I'm thinking seriously about recording the drives and editing down the audio to 3-5 minute excerpts. Not exactly a podcast, but we talk about some things live that I can't really capture.

Like this. But I'll try.

Eli 15.0 had just finished a workout with his trainer, and we were on our way back home. It's really something to see him pushing 250 lbs. on one of those weight sleds, or deadlifting 200+ pounds.

He weighs 137 lbs., soaking wet.

"I have an idea for a gym," I said.

"What's that?" he asked.

"Here's the problem with gyms," I said. "You have these huge guys lifting massive amounts of weight, and it's incredibly impressive, but what about guys like me?"

"Not so much," Eli said.

"Exactly," I said. "Not very impressive when I'm putting plates on the bar that are the size of a tiny Frisbee. Why can't everybody feel like they're lifting massive amounts of weight?"

"I'm listening," he said.

"So here's the concept," I said. "This gym will have huge plates, but they're all going to weigh almost nothing."

He started laughing.

"If I'm bench pressing seventy-five pounds," I said, "that will still be eight HUGE plates, but they only weigh five pounds each."

"And thirty-five for the bar," he said.

"Right," I said. "So that's seventy-five pounds total, but it will look like I'm doing a lift in the Olympics."

"Everybody will feel good about the weight they're lifting," he said.

"That's right."

"What's the name?" he asked.

"Hmm, that's a good question," I said. "But the word 'swole' definitely needs to be in there."

We went through a variety of unsuitable candidates.

"Hey, what about 'Swag n' Swole'?" Eli asked.

"Oh, that's a winner," I said.


"Okay, guys, I need some dinner suggestions," Gloria said.

"Diet Coke," I said.

"Not groceries," she said. "Meals."

"Cherry Garcia," I said. Eli 15.0 laughs.

"Diet Coke and ice cream are not a meal," she said.

"Wavy Lays?" I asked.

"AGAIN," she said, "not a meal."

"Cheezits," Eli said. "Man, I love those. Oh, and those cookies from DW. Those are amazing."

We got the hand on the hip. It's the precursor to the Death Ray Stare©. 

"Oh--Papa John's!" Eli said. "That's a great dinner."

"It is!" I said. "Put that down."

"I don't know why I even try with you people," Gloria said.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Impressions: No Man's Sky (20 hours)

One of the things I've been doing (which doesn't require much concentration) is playing No Man's Sky. 

That's bad for development, because most of my development time on Fighting Eleven is going unused right now because of issues with concentration.

That's good for having time to form deeper impressions of the game, though.

After 20+ hours, I'm still having a great time with No Man's Sky. There's a core gameplay loop--explore, gather, upgrade--and I find that core loop both engaging and relaxing.

If you like that loop, like me, then this game has hundreds, or even thousands, of hours of content. It could become what I like to call a "lifestyle" game, where you don't really play anything else.

If you don't like that core loop, though, I can see you being disappointed.

Maybe part of the outrage over No Man's Sky involves eras. The resource gathering reminds me of Starflight--in inspiration, at least. Some of the space station moments remind me of Wing Commander. Some of the aliens remind me of Star Control.

So No Man's Sky evokes a ton of incredibly pleasant memories of other games, now in one quite spectacular-looking package. It's inspirations are clearly from an era where games came on floppies.

If you're younger, and not from that era, your expectations will probably be different, along with your degree of satisfaction when you play. For me, though, sitting down and playing for 20-30 minutes, puttering around the universe, is incredibly satisfying.


Sorry for the extremely small amount of writing lately. The swelling in my ankle doesn't really seem to be going away, even though it's air casted and I'm being very careful with how much I walk. It hurts enough that concentration on anything is difficult.

I have a small amount of pain medication, but I'm trying to ration it, and the Catch-22 is that if I do take it, my concentration is even worse (although it's much more pleasant in general). So I'm going to scuff along for a few more days, but hopefully I'll be fine after that.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Savagely Depressing Lines From Old Radio Shows #1

"Some night maybe I'll sleep again--if I live long enough."


Don't Break Rule One, Dummy

Rule One of being injured is this: do nothing in compensating for the initial injury that injures something else. 

I spent the first two days pushing a chair around with my left leg, hopping on the leg, etc. Saturday, I was driving Eli back from the rink, and as I started to get out of the car, I felt this knifing pain in my back.

That left leg, surprisingly, is connected to all kinds of other things, including stuff in my back.


Colin Kaepernick

I know I normally don't do political takes, and I'll make it quick, but I feel very, very strongly about this.

Nothing in a healthy democracy should be above scrutiny or criticism. The idea that an individual or organization should be beyond criticism is itself corrosive to democracy.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, and this is an incredible read, it's SUNK: How a Chinese billionaire’s dream of making an underwater fantasy blockbuster turned into a legendary movie fiasco.

From Christopher, and this is such a good read: Will somebody please give Norm Macdonald another TV show?

From Eric Higgins-Freese, and this is just incredible: We're One Step Closer To Proving Black Holes Evaporate.

From Steven Davis, and this is fascinating: Gettysburg’s Killing Field – 12 Remarkable Facts About Pickett’s Charge. Also, another military history piece, but on a different war: THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY: THE COMPLETE INTELLIGENCE STORY. This is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship: In a Bowl Care May Not Be. Next, and this is a great read about taxes and the Roman Empire, it's Fading Legions: The Tax Cut of Doom. This is grim but fascinating: How were Napoleonic battlefields cleaned up?

This is both bizarre and quite interesting: Hello Goodbye: The author of a best-selling abstinence manifesto is reconsidering the lessons he taught to millions.

From Wally, and this is fascinating: I Would Rather Be Herod’s Pig: The History of a Taboo: The story of how pigs became the world’s most divisive meal. This next link is a long article, but it's an excellent read: The Death of Flair: As Friday's Goes Minimalist, What Happens to the Antiques?

From Brian Witte, and this is just amazing: Zebra finch 'heat song' changes hatchling development.

From 3Suns, and this is incredible: The Blind Man Who Taught Himself to See.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Verdict Is In

My ankle: guilty.

Avuncular fracture and two sprained ligaments. In a walking boot/air cast. Hurts like hell.

In good news, I might be able to take off the cast in three weeks.

Get To Carving

Gloria was driving us to the rink, and we passed a wooden bird coming out of a stump.

"It seems that carving wood and putting it in your front yard is a thing up here," I said.

"It certainly is," Gloria said.

"I see a lot of wooden nature, but not much else. What about a bus bearing down on a vulnerable pedestrian, his hands raised in terror?"

I'd stop the car to check that out. No question.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bear Cam

Katmai National Park in Alaska has a live stream of bears fishing around for salmon at Brooks Falls, and it's mesmerizing. The sound of the waterfall is particularly soothing. So if you're having a stressed out day today, go have a look: Brooks Falls -- Katmai National Park, Alaska.

There's also a link to an orca cam at a different national park from that page.


Long-time friend of the program Joshua Buergel (who you may remember from the very entertaining card game Hocus), let me know that he's finished a new game. It's called Farmageddon, and it looks like it is both fun and funny.

More info and pre-order link here.

Well, Hell

I was all excited this morning because I was going to drop Eli 15.0 off at goalie camp (where, incredibly, he's now an instructor) and go play nine holes of golf.

I was carrying stuff out of the house, stepped out the front door, couldn't see the thick and quite high mat we have on the porch, hit the edge of it somehow, and blew out my right ankle.

Totally blown out. Heard ligaments popping. Agony.

I've done this before, because I've had a bad ankle going all the way back to a severe sprain in high school (tennis), but we played tennis hard all summer and I never had a single problem.

Managed to make the drive to the rink with the help of an ice wrap, but man, this sucks. Can't really walk and I'm afraid it might be a high ankle sprain, which would be way worse.

On the positive side...well, there's no positive side.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


"It's almost hypnotic, really," I said.

"They could make this a live feed on the Internet and I'd watch it all day," Eli 15.0 said.

"Do you think that's Buster?" I asked.

"No, he  looks like Walter," Eli said. "I think Buster is over there by the door."


"Looks like Terry is headed for the sin bin," Eli said.

"Lance, too," I said. "Coincidental minors."

We're in PetSmart, of course, standing outside the glassed-in area that is doggy day camp. It's basically a dozen dogs inside a room, and all of them are constantly moving around. Relationships are formed and broken in seconds. New rivalries emerge.

"It's the history of the Roman Empire in under five minutes, but with dogs," I said.

Plus, there's the person.

One person. One women in her late teens to rule them all.

"What do you think is the worst job on Earth?" I asked.

"Hmm, I don't know," Eli said. "Cleaning up biohazards or something?"

"The people with this job apply for that job," I said, as the attendant tried to handle approximately ten disagreements among campers simultaneously.

Besides interpersonal conflicts, there's a little board that lists the dogs names, and you can spend all kinds of time trying to figure out if the bulldog is Wally, Dante, or Thomas.

"All they need is a snack bar," Eli said. "This is better than the movies."

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Rabbit Hole #1: Bleem!

Through an endless series of interconnected rabbit holes, I briefly thought this weekend that one of the most highly regarded feminist novels ever written mentioned Penny Arcade.

It DID mention Penny Arcade, specifically, but it was published in 1997, and Penny Arcade didn't begin strips until 1998.

So, so close.

However, because of that, I started reading Penny Arcade again from the beginning. It's a real trip into the wayback machine of gaming, and I think I'm going to go all the way through, both for the window into gaming and also into how Tycho and Gabe have changed over the years.

Eighteen years is a long, long time.

Anyway, in the July 30, 1999 strip, Bleem! gets mentioned.

In case you're wondering, Bleem! was going to be the ultimate Playstation emulator, playable on either the PC or the Dreamcast. It was hyped and hyped and hyped, and then it finally turned out to be plagued by bugs and way too difficult to actually pull off.

The promises, though, were splendid.

Make Better Decisions: Olympic Edition

That does not seem like a sport.

"It's a marathon, not a sprint," I said to Eli 15.0 at the beginning of the Olympics. Trying to distill NBC's coverage--which is decent on some channels and absolute crap on others--is complicated enough, but just the sheer volume of footage to sort through every day is actually tiring.

If you live in another country, let me explain how the Olympics work here: 22-25 minutes of advertising an hour for the prime-time coverage on NBC. Then there will be 10-15 minutes an hour of puff pieces framing the individual athlete's struggle against darkness and evil overlords. So, at most, you might see 20-25 minutes an hour of actual competition.

The sub-channels, though--like NBCSN--were much better. They actually showed most of an event live, instead of tape-delaying and endless editing and reframing the footage for maximum emotional impact.

Except the field events. What NBC does to the field events is just an abomination. They refuse to show them in their entirety, or anything even remotely close to it.

I'm glad I saw what I saw, but man, I'm glad it's over. I need two years to recover before the Winter Olympics.

Random Olympic Conversation About An Unnamed Sport #3

"This looks like it should be an act at Sea World with marine animals," Gloria said.

"I think they toss Frisbees as well," I said.

"Flaming torches," Eli 15.0 said.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, an absolutely fantastic read: The Leak Prosecution That Lost the Space Race. Also, and this is a long and tangled read, but a fascinating story, it's The Life and Murder of Stella Walsh, Intersex Olympic Champion.

From Steven Davis, and this is utterly insane: New Camera Allows You to Zoom in to the Surface of the Moon. Way In. Next, and this is terrific, it's The Librarian Who Changed Children’s Literature Forever. This is a great read, but man, it's depressing: These People Are Among Us But Not Of Us: How a 125-year-old mass lynching tried to make America great again. Next, and this is amazing: 'Brain training' technique restores feeling and movement to paraplegic patients. This is a fascinating video: Gotta Groove Records - The Artist's Preferred Record Pressing Plant.

From Christopher S., and this is a fascinating read: The True Story of the ‘Free State of Jones’.

From Andrew, and if you were curious about how live sporting events can "enhance" the sound, this will explain it: The Sound of Sports.

From Wally, and this is both interesting and beautiful: Historic Center of San Gimignano. Next, and this is incredible, it's Cyborg stingray swims toward light, breaks new ground. Next, and this is both funny and bizarre, it's Parrot Tries To Cat.

From Brian, and this is mind-blowing: Library of Babel.

From Eilidh, and this is a terrific read: There's a Section of Yellowstone Where You Can Get Away with Murder.

From C. Lee, and this is fascinating: Thanks to This Man, Airplanes Don’t Crash Into Mountains Anymore. This is an excellent read: Secrets and agents George Akerlof’s 1970 paper, “The Market for Lemons”, is a foundation stone of information economics. This is a terrific read--about ants: Meet the worst ants in the world.

From Jason, and this is an intriguing story: Bang! The Brown Mountain Lights are back in business.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Lesson of These Olympics: Never Lie To Your Mother

Some of our Olympic idiots apparently lied to Brazilian police about getting robbed at gunpoint.

Ryan Lochte, head idiot, told this story to his mother, who then somehow notified the press, and it all went from there.

Of course, Ryan Lochte wouldn't be in all kinds of trouble now if he'd followed the Prime Directive for children: never lie to your mother. 

Even at my age, I never lie to my mother. Mothers are generally equipped with the Advanced Lie Detector Mark IV, and they will know you're telling a lie before you even finish telling the lie.

Mom always knew, and after a period of rebellion (from age 5 to about 30, so it was quite a long rebellion), I realized it was so much easier to tell the truth--to her and everyone else, too.

Once I just started being honest, life got much less complicated, and quickly. When you're telling the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

It's pleasant, really.

Lochte's mother apparently doesn't have the advanced lie detector that my mom has, but she still took a lie and bad things happened.

Yes, occasionally you piss someone off by telling the truth. That can't be helped. It's still much, much easier.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Eli 15.0 had a strained tendon in the back of his knee last week and took two days off (the first days off he's had since we moved here).

I texted him while he was in Driver's Ed:
You may have some free time with that injury. Found something for you.

He texted back quickly: Updated and revised.

I didn't know what he was talking about, then I looked at the upper right corner of the book.

What kind of late-breaking information could be added to the original "How to Raise Chickens"? Is there some kind of new wave in chicken care?

Today, I went and worked out. Texted him:
Went to the YMCA. Pretty swole. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

No Man's Sky

If you're close to my age (sorry), I will describe No Man's Sky in one sentence for you: A Yes album cover by Roger Dean with music by Vangelis. 

For the rest of you, let's keep going, and this isn't going to be an exhaustive gameplay discussion, because you can find those all over the place.

Let's pretend that you never read a word about No Man's Sky. Had no idea what it was about. One day, a disc appears in the mail and all it says is "Play Me".

You decide to follow instructions.

When the game is installed, you wait to play until the house is dark and quiet. You shut the door, put on headphones, and press "Play".

Your mind proceeds to get blown. Fully, irretrievably blown.


Back in gaming's early days, we overlooked the minor in pursuit of the major. Today, we micro-analyze the minor to invalidate the major.

Don't do that with this game.

It's stunningly, staggeringly beautiful. The experience is almost hypnotic.

I could write many words about how NMS might be even better if it was different here and here and there, but those words do not matter.

The game is bigger than all of those words.

Monday, August 15, 2016


Eli 15.0 had Driver's Education from 9-11 this morning, then I picked him up and we drove to Detroit to watch Pro Elite Camp.

"I wonder if I should get a snow kayak this winter," I said.

"That's not a thing, is it?" Eli asked.

"Sure it is," I said. "Small skis are attached just below the kayak, so the kayak just rides on the snow."

"How do you paddle?"

"I'm not totally sure," I said, "but I think you use the regular paddle, only it's modified with spikes that can grip the ice so that you can push."

"Are they expensive?"

"I would think there are plenty of used ones up here," I said. "Don't know how much they'd cost."

I drove on for about thirty seconds.

"You know that snow kayaks totally do not exist," I said.


"I almost persuaded myself," I said.

Later on, I heard a reference to parachute pants in an ad on the radio and made him look it up on Google. "Oh, no," he said when he saw them.

That is the correct reaction to parachute pants.

Pro Elite Camp is a Bandits camp that features a few NHL draft choices, guys on the National Development Team, D1 college goalies, and a few guys below that level. Plus the shooters are just ridiculous.

It was all amazing, but here's one story, because it's late and I'm beat.

When Eli worked out at Barwis during regular Elite Camp, there was a group of NHL players working there at the same time, and at one point, he had to ask the fastest skater in the NHL to move over because he was standing over Eli's water bottle.

He looked over at Eli and says 'Oh, sorry man, my bad." Typical hockey player--super polite, really nice guy.

That same player was a shooter today, just shredding guys in the drills. We were the only people in the stands, and at one point, he looked directly at Eli for several seconds, like he was trying to place him (at least half a dozen of the guys knew Eli, and they all acknowledged him at some point, so he might have noticed that).

Or maybe he wasn't looking at all, but it seemed like it at the time.

"My god, I swear he was staring at me," Eli said.

"He was taking an image with a mental camera," I said. "On that image are the words 'PERSON OF INTEREST.' "

Eli burst out laughing.

About fifteen minutes later, he looked over again. Seemingly.

"I swear he did it again," Eli said.

"That 'PERSON OF INTEREST' text is now flashing," I said.

Driving to Detroit at 11 and driving back at 5 is tough, but it was worth it.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Links!

From Wally, and it was an infamous "chicken ranch": Closing Down La Grange. Next, and this is a fascinating investigation of cause: Tay Bridge disaster. This must be one of the most prolific authors in history: John Creasey. Next, and this is entirely brilliant, it's Landlord installs Faraday cage to block phone signals because social media is ruining British pubs. This is fascinating: Researchers learn about wire-fraud scam after Nigerian scammers infect themselves with their own malware. Oh, and if you're in the L.A. area, this sounds incredible: Like monsters? You'll love the Guillermo Del Toro exhibit at LA County Museum. You won't see anything at first in this next link, but trust me, just keep zooming out one step at a time: Polka Dot Land.

A slew of excellent links from C. Lee. Leading off, and this is intriguing: Nature Videos Make Prisoners Less Violent. Next, and this is fascinating, it's Spider Colonies are Cooperating Themselves to Death. Next, and this looks like fun, it's NASA just released an addictive Mars Rover game. Have a look at how different the Harry Potter book covers were in different countries: Harry Potter Book Covers.

From Steven Davis, an argument for the humble washing machine as the greatest invention of the Industrial Revolution: The magic washing machine. Here is an absolutely amazing look at a pivotal moment in American history: A Cutting-Edge Second Look at the Battle of Gettysburg. Next, and this is one of the craziest war stories I've ever read, it's THE LOST BATTALION: HOW A PIGEON SAVED 200 LIVES IN WW1.

From DQ Reader My Wife, and this is both bizarre and wonderful: Salvador Dalí's Long Lost Collaboration With Walt Disney Will Take Your Breath Away.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Random Olympic Conversation About An Unnamed Sport #2

Eli 15.0: This is soccer. With sticks. It's stick soccer.

Gloria: Are they playing with umbrellas?

Eli: If it starts raining, they just open them up and stand together in colorful patterns.

On The Nature of Greatness

No Man's Sky releases on PC tomorrow, and man, I'm ready.

The backlash against the PS4 version began very quickly. A litany of complaints and resentment issued forth almost immediately upon release. Actually, they issued forth before release.

This made me wonder about the nature of greatness in games, and how difficult it is to be great these days.

Back "in the day", no one really rooted against games. I don't think anyone was desperately hoping that Civ II sucked. We all wanted it to be great.

We were looking for greatness.

Today, though--damn.

Incredibly, a large part of the gaming "community" doesn't really want anything to be great, seemingly. Anything that could potentially be great, or become great, is methodically knocked down, even before it's released.

I know that our country is polarized to an incredible degree politically. I can sort of understand that (even though I think one side is entirely deluded at this point). But how does wanting a game to suck qualify as a "side"? What is the point?

I'm not saying that No Man's Sky is great. It just reminded me that there is a group of people that try to destroy every game.

I'm curious about the demographic of these people. Is it just Angry Young Guy? And if it is, what is Angry Young Guy angry about in general?

This is an old man comment, but it seems like the proportion of people who would rather destroy than build seems to steadily be getting larger, and it's both uncomfortable and disturbing.

Angry mobs.

It makes me sad, that pitchfork-wielding cretins have done so much damage to a hobby that I have enjoyed so much, and that has been enjoyed so much by my friends.

Rugby Sevens Finals at 6 p.m. ET Tonight

Fiji versus Great Britain, and every player on Fiji's team looks like he could play in the NFL.

If you have DirecTV, the game is on 220.

This has turned into one of my favorite sports in the Olympics.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Reality, Now With Much Less Reality

We've been watching quite a bit of the Olympics this week, and I keep seeing stadiums that are half-empty or even worse.

Some venues look like they're barely a quarter full.

More and more sports seem to be headed in this direction, becoming largely made for television events.

So here's a question: how long will it take before technology fills the empty seats?

What am I talking about? Some kind of real-time algorithm that could take a live broadcast and insert digital fans, along with increasing the crowd noise proportionately.

CBS has been caught doing shenanigans with bird calls during golf tournaments, believe it or not, so "environmental enhancement" has already been tried. It's just a question of how many years before empty stadiums appear real.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Happy Birthday!

Incredibly, Dwarf Fortress was first released ten years ago today.

I've mentioned before that the DF patch notes are my favorite gaming reading and have been for years, and PC Gamer collected their favorites here: The most ridiculous patch notes from 10 years of Dwarf Fortress.

I'd also like to mention that there's a Patreon here: Bay 12 Games is creating Dwarf Fortress and other video games. I can't think of anything better than supporting the most unique and interesting game ever made.

Fighting Eleven #3: Recruiting Prototype

Well, I have what I think is a solid starting design for the recruiting process in Fighting Eleven, and I'm going to build a prototype of that first.

That way, people can start playing the recruiting portion and offering comments early in the process.

The problem right now is my work environment, which is, in a word, terrible. It seems like I have an endless stream of non-programming work tasks scheduled every day, mostly related to moving. I just can't get out from under the pile, and until I do, I can't seriously pursue making the prototype.

The design is compact enough that I think I could complete the prototype with two weeks of serious work, but it's difficult to get two minutes a day right now.

Having complained about all that, though, I like the design. I think I've learned quite a bit about controlling the programming difficulty by controlling the design, without taking any of the fun away.

Quadrilateral Cowboy

I had an odd reaction to this one.

I love Brendan Chung's games, and the worlds he creates. They're unique and incredibly charming. He looks at the world sideways, which seems the correct way to look at it nowadays (maybe it's always been the correct way).

Having said that, though, I bounced off Quadrilateral Cowboy hard and haven't gone back to it yet, even though I think I will.

Hacking. Heists. It all sounds thrilling. What I found thrilling, though, was all the detail in unimportant things. The hacker base has all kinds of absolutely unimportant details that are entirely wonderful and unique.

There's something very organic and real about the gameworld that I don't find in the gameplay, unfortunately.

Plus, it's relatively short, although it appears that more content is being added.

That's why I hadn't posted impressions. I think my current play time is less than two hours, and I wanted to wait until I had done more before I wrote anything. But not feeling compelled to play more is, in itself, an impression.

I still recommend this, curiously enough. I'm sure there's something there, something else, that I just haven't found yet.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Random Olympic Notes

1. Rugby sevens is the bomb. It's very fun to watch in either the male or female versions.

2. DirecTV has fixed my problem with finding out where everything is showing. They have an Olympic mix channel (205) that shows you panels from every station currently showing the Olympics. Seeing everything that's currently on is incredibly convenient in terms of finding something to watch, and if you want to watch eight channels at the same time, you can just stay on the mix channel.

3. The archery target is 70 meters away, and they're still nailing max-point (10) shots with regularity. Absolutely incredible.

Random Olympic Conversations #1

"Lots of grabbing and pulling."

"It looks like ten-year-olds arguing over a piece of candy."

"This is incredibly dramatic for reasons I do not understand and cannot explain."

"Overtime is the referee opening a bag of Skittles. Whoever has the most when time runs out wins the match."

Autocorrect #1

Eli 15.0: "I tried to type 'yesterday' and it auto-corrected to 'yeast sedan'."

Alternate history:
Get Outa My Dreams, Get Into My Yeast Sedan
Little Red Yeast Sedan
Brand New Yeast Sedan
I'm In Love With My Yeast Sedan
Jerry Was A Yeast Sedan Driver

Friday, August 05, 2016

Friday Links!

From Steven Davis, and this is very Orwellian: Dark Patterns are designed to trick you (and they’re all over the Web). This is quite a surprise: The AP asked the government for proof that flossing works. The answer: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Also, and this is thought-provoking: How we think about e-waste is in need of repair. Here's one more: The $3500 Shirt - A History Lesson in Economics.

From Tim Lesnick, and yes, it's a stuffed frog museum: Froggyland.

From Wally, and this is terrific: Nightwork: the extraordinary, exuberant history of rulebreaking at MIT. This is tremendously ingenious: Smart Parking Solution.

This is from C. Lee, and Norway is very cool: Norway considers giving mountain to Finland as 100th birthday present. Also, and this is an excellent read, it's When Design is Hostile on Purpose: Intentionally Unpleasant Structures are Designed to Shape Human Behavior.

From Brian Witte, and this is fascinating: Humpback whales around the globe are mysteriously rescuing animals from orcas.

From Matt Kreuch, and this is amazing: ROCK'ING FOR 30 DAYS: One Man's Journey to Eat and Train Like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Living in the Bubble

Goalie camp weeks tend to be a long tunnel from which very little enters or leaves.

You probably noticed the version change, but Eli 15.0 changed major version numbers on Sunday. He's 5'11 1/2" and 135 lbs.

He deadlifted 205 lbs. last week after a series of lifts to build up to it (with his trainer), and said afterwards that he could have done a bit more.

I still see that little boy version 9.0 when he plays now, remembering all that mismatching gear and his consistent determination.

It's hard to imagine that what he is today came from that little 9.0 guy, but it did.

For him to keep progressing, though, things need to happen quickly. It's a bewildering maze of leagues once you hit the 16U age (next year), and kids go on distinctly separate tracks depending on the aggregate scout perception.

I'm grossly oversimplifying the process, but kids have to distinguish themselves by the time they're 16. If they don't, it's hard to recover.

Believe it or not, after five years at goalie camp, I finally did something during the two-hour lunch break. Because we didn't fly this time, but just drove down (only two hours!), I brought my golf clubs (all four of them) and played nine holes at a course just minutes away from the rink.

When I play by myself, and the course isn't crowded, I get very, very absorbed. I think I'd forgotten how much, since I haven't played in a few years, but it's a place I can go and not think about anything else except what I'm doing.

I find that increasingly difficult to do these days, so it's a particularly good feeling when I do.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Ugh, Sorry

The day totally got away from me (staff responsibilities, as it were), but I'll try to make up for it tomorrow.

Eli 15.0 got to work out (off-ice) next to six NHL players today. It was amazing.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The Sync

We were playing tennis on Sunday morning before we left for goalie camp.

"I'm going to try to explain something to you, but it's a difficult concept," I said while we were hitting.

"Okay," Eli 15.0 said, skeptically.

I had just missed an easy volley.

"The ball has a physical existence," I said. "In your head, the ball also has an existence. When the ball in your head is perfectly synced with the ball in reality, you'll almost never hit a bad shot. What just happened now is that the ball was coming toward me so slowly that the tracks of the two balls became de-synced--the ball in my mind got ahead of the physical ball."

"Dad, just hold on, I'm calling for help," Eli said. "Hello? Can you come right away? I think my dad is having a nervous breakdown."

"It's not easy to explain," I said, laughing. "But it's true."

"Hello?" Eli said, picking up his imaginary phone again. "Please hurry!"

You can feel this while you play almost any sport. It's exceptionally difficult to focus just on what is, instead of something else.

Eli does that almost every moment in hockey, and he doesn't even realize he's doing it. It's a kind of absorption.

It's not just sports, either. I've also found it very true in terms of the creative process. There's a kind of flow that can be achieved if your absorption reaches a certain point.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Windows 10 Privacy (update)

From Curtis, and it's an addendum to my Windows 10 upgrade post:
There are several apps out there that will automate the disabling of the snooping services with Windows 10.  I personally use Spybot Anti-Beacon.  I've used Spybot for many years, removing malware and I trust the company enough to use this other app.  It doesn't disable everything 100% but will do some things that manually disabling, doesn't do.

You can find the link here:  Spybot Anti-Beacon.  

I run this every couple of weeks as Microsoft has been re-enabling some of these items without letting anyone know, through Windows Updates. 


Back at goalie camp.

This year, Eli 15.0 went from the Jr. Elite camp to the High School Elite Camp. It's a big move, but he looked totally comfortable this morning.

I noticed an odd phenomenon this morning on the way to Barwis for dry land training. I know very little about Detroit, so when I drive, I'm basically in unknown mode. However, occasionally we'll drive through an area and it's like a familiarity overlay snapping into place--I go from being in the complete unknown to the complete known.

For the next half-mile, I'll know exactly where I am, what's close, and how I get to anywhere in that little area.

Outside that space, I'm totally lost again.

Movie Series Summarized In One Line Of Actual Dialogue From the Movies #1: Jason Bourne

"We lost him, sir."

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