Went last night at 10 to provide some cover for that indoor soccer team I sometimes associate with. My play was "meh." I got a goal (which was nice) and an assist (which was merely OK) and broke up a lot of plays coming towards our goal, mostly settling and putting the ball to an outlet on our team. Towards the end of the game, though, my concentration was a bit lax and I had a couple of errors that caused goals :( Boo.

Still, I didn't get hurt (though may revise that opinion later, if minor aches become major ones), and had some fun.


Italian Soccer

Soren has apparently seen too much; he keeps kicking the ball and then laying down upon the floor.



What is the root of improvement in mankind's lot?


Hostage-taking for Fun and Profit

But we've proved it again and again, That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld You never get rid of the Dane.


Soccer Wave Home Game Dimensions

Dad asked me for the dimensions when I was there. Here you go. At 1 inch intervals from the ground (I'll give the vertical height as the X and the distance from the very back to the surface of the ramp as the Y in an (X,Y) format).

  • (0,36)
  • (1,25)
  • (2,20 1/4)
  • (3, 15 3/4)
  • (4, 12)
  • (5, 10)
  • (6, 8 1/4)
  • (7, 7 3/16)
  • (8, 6 3/8)
  • (9, 5 3/4)
  • (10, 5 1/4)
  • (11, 5)
  • (12, 4 7/8)
  • (13, 4 3/4)
  • (14, 4 7/8)
  • (15, 5)
  • (16, 5 1/4)
  • (17, 5 1/2)
  • (18, 6)
  • (19, 6 7/16)
  • (20, 7)
  • (21, 7 9/16)
  • (22, 8 1/4)
  • (23, 9)
  • (24, 9)
The thing to remember, though, is that this is a bit rough, and you'll want to experiment a little. The top half of the return curve may lean just a tiny bit too far forward. Only a bit, though.

What to do About FIFA?

Their bizarre and Machiavellian choice to have Qatar host the 2022 World Cup Final is like a poisoned dirk lodged in my breast. I have nothing against the Qatari (is that right?) people, but apparently FIFA's ExCom do: the "government" of Qatar is apparently on the hook for tens and tens of Billions of dollars worth of extravagant construction--luxury items like giant stadia (which will somehow be climate-controlled and Carbon-neutral and disassembled after the WCF and shipped to a variety of deserving nations) as well as infrastructure (airports, rail, and roads) that will be dramatically out sized to their population (and therefore subject to decay immediately) and hospitality amenities that will go unused after the WCF--for which they will have just evanescent use, at tremendous opportunity cost!

I am hopeful that a short while in advance it will become apparent that this millstone is too heavy for Qatar, and FIFA will discreetly approach one of the few countries able to host a WCF on short/no notice (the US, UK, a few countries in Western Europe--maybeAustralia) and either be rebuffed, or have their disgusting manipulations turned back on them.

Imagine the US saying "Absolutely! We're all in!" and then threatening FIFA with canceling the tournament 26 days out unless FIFA charters/incorporates in the US. Then we introduce the fabulous ExCom to our little friends: RICO statutes.



I've been running home from the train station again. Since it has been colder out, it has been pretty uncomfortable. Generating my own (very modest) windchill in addition (sometimes) to whatever there is already tends to make the nose and all other exposed skin surfaces very very cold.


Like Falling off a Table

The temperature when I left for work (around 8:00am today, due to a brain fart involving muting my alarm clock last night) was over 60 degrees Fahrenheit. By 3:00pm it had dropped around 16 degrees! In any event, it was brisk running home tonight.


A Warning

Don't feed Soren cake after... say... midday. He had some bites of my cake (no frosting bites, mind you) and he's completely off his rocker. Also, I ran home from the train station again. It was nice, but I got caught at two lights, so it seems sort of less awesome.

Chilly Morning

A wee bit chilly this morning.



Obtained a nice looking tree. It is now mounted in its stand and chilling on the balcony. We'll light that sucker up tomorrow. Such nice smells, the various fir tree aromas.



It's not yet 6:30pm, here, and my entire family is asleep. Up to and including cats. Susan and Eleri had a rough night with El's coughing and waking up (I'm a bad man, taking advantage of the extra bed in Soren's room, on a school night) throughout. Soren is also sickly. So I sent Susan for a nap, then lulled Soren to sleep singing Christmas carols with youtube, and conked Eleri out thereafter. No explanation necessary for the cats, I trust.


Fun Times

Set free early, today! I used part of my early release to go swimming. I did 1000 yards, all at once. Whew.

Nearly Enough to Make One Cry

This slide show from Foreign Policy depicts Kabul in the 50s. They went dramatically backwards in time after that, with all the horror and deprivation that entails.


From wikipedia (though the source is US Census data). The lowest annualized growth rate there was the median percentile (though the 10th, 20th, and 50th percentiles all grew more slowly than the 80th, 90th, and 95th percentiles.


We moved office again, to a different suite in the same building. One of the folks in the office (who usually gets in at 0630) was, when I arrived (and still is), power-sanding a small table.



I ran home a bunch of days while we were working our little civil servasses off. It is only a mile and a half, but there's about 150 feet of climbing involved. A couple of hills. Tiring.

I also managed to sneak a swim on a Saturday. I did 800 yards, all without stopping (the lifeguard was about to go on break, so I figured I had to wrap it up quickly).

Of course I now have a cold. Not loving it. Little germ-riddled monkeys gave it to me.



Navigation is Never a Problem with a GPS Unit, Right?

Well. Not exactly. More about that later.

We drove out to a place called The Applehouse, a restaurant in Linden, about 65 miles away. We met our friend Alice for lunch. The Applehouse was chosen because they make sparkling cider (and donuts, which is apparently a thing with cider mills) and have a BBQ smoker and what looked like a super tasty, super reasonable, menu. Alice wanted to get some locally-made sparkling cider for a cool "themed" Thanksgiving celebration her cousin is hosting. So we drove out there.

Lunch was every bit as delicious as I'd hoped. The donuts were very tasty as well. After, it being a beautiful day, we thought we might hit a park to let Soren run off some of his energy. Consulting the GPS, we saw a likely candidate and started off on the way.

This was the point at which things got silly with the GPS. There was a sign showing freeway access nearby, off to the left. The GPS said to go right. That still looked okay, because the frontage road and freeway ran parallel, and the GPS map showed an on-ramp off to the right. We followed the GPS, and drove past what might have been the on-ramp during the Eisenhower era.

So the route we took was... somewhat circuitous. We drove 10 miles to reach a park located less than 3 miles away. Through the little town of Front Royal. Eventually along a one-lane road sharing both traffic directions (via a timed traffic light). Into a strange residential area. Past some dilapidated, kudzu swallowed, old houses. In the middle of nowhere, with nothing at all to indicate the presence of a park, the GPS chimed in "arriving at Owl Park on the right." Yeah. No. No dice at all. Alice and Susan and I laughed about our quality scenic drive to the non-existent park, and decided to head out (us to our home, Alice to hers).

Again following the GPS (because why not, right? In for a penny...), we head back. This time we apparently took the short portion of the long circle and... ran into a park. About a mile away from the Applehouse. We pulled in and played with Soren for a while. A fine time was had by all. After all that trouble.

It was a fun day, nevertheless. Always nice to hang with Alice, and it was really lovely out in the VA countryside.


Big Yawns

I'm sleepy this morning. Soren's little vaccine reaction made him a whimpery, squiggly lad who wouldn't fall asleep in his bed alone or with me in the spare bed. Finally brought him into our room and snuggles with his mother did the trick. Still, he was not well settled, which ate into my sleep.

Mom, Dad, you have my deepest apologies for the whole Night Terrors thing.


Fun Movie Line

Lloyd: I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.

Does "data" count?



Played some indoor soccer today. Team had only one woman, who had to play the whole game. Fortunately she's very skilled and healthy. But as a consequence of having just one woman, we had to play down a man. So we rotated subs in regularly and eventually figured out a working strategy. By that time (halftime) we were down 8-3. Implementing our improved strategy worked! We won the second half 8-1, taking the game 11-9. I didn't do awesome, but at least okay. No injury, so I can't complain too much.


Another Adventure

A bit after 2 a.m., Soren came running into our room last night, hoping to climb into our bed and sleep between us (because he loves to do that, and does more nights than not). It seems (I say this because we really haven't done the forensics necessary to tell exactly what happened) that he tripped and fell and whacked the bejeezus out of his forehead on the bed frame. A loud "THUMP!" followed by crying and confusion.

Susan pulled him up onto the bed to try and calm him, but after a scant few moments noticed either that there was too much fluid for it to just be tears, or she felt the big gash on his head, and carried him to the kitchen to discover it. Cue application of cold pack, and direct pressure for the bleeding. Baby Motrin for swelling and pain. "Gee that's pretty deep, I think he might need stitches." "Let me see. Yep."

So Soren and I, he now with cleverly dressed wound and I with sandy-and still probably wild-eyes, drove down to the nearby Emergency Room for some stitches and accusing glares (respectively).

Just kidding, nobody thought I'd beaten him. Far as I could tell.

He was a pretty good trooper through it all, though he did not like being wrapped in a sheet and strapped to a child-sized spineboard for restraint. And nobody likes stitches. It took 5, I think, though I wasn't counting that so much as trying to comfort him and hold his gaze. We checked out, drove home, and were sitting in bed by 4. Weirdly, the parking space I vacated at 2:20 a.m. was taken when we got back.

So, how was your night?



I stil--STILL--cannot believe California ever elected Arnold Schwarzenegger. Baffling.


Something You Don't Want to See (On Your Calendar)

Meeting scheduled: $XYZW-UTC (UTC means until completion in this context). Going to be another marathon meeting from 1:30pm until we finish everydamn thing.



Running home stinks. I forgot how much steeper things are when running.


Have something special going on at work which is necessitating early mornings, evenings, and working nights at home. So I'm busy. And already so tired. Boo! I did manage to vote this morning, so hopefully $MyCandidates will win. Unfortunately this work will really cut into my exercise time, so I'm planning on running home from the metro station for as many evenings as possible. Wish me luck (and wish me no side-stitches--always a danger in brisk weather).



My swimming calculations were off. I swam 600 yards last time. Today I swam 800 yards. Tiring.



Back to exercising today, after quite a long layoff. About three weeks since I've been regularly going. I've switched to swimming for the season. I'm starting easily, and did three sets of 150 yards. Still, that was tiring.



I guess I like them, sort of. If I don't have to wait for them.


Grown Up

One of the ways I know that I've become an adult is that I have yet to attempt to make myself a bow-and-arrow out of the dowels I have in the closet (it would be awesome).


More Advice

The introductions "I'm not a bigot, but..." and "It may sound petty, but..." leave very little room for error on the dismount. Consider avoiding them.



Dental Update!

Had another one in my endless series of appointments. A few fillings, pretty quick. One close to the root, so we'll see if it is okay. The next one (I guess by implication, two) should be more exciting, what with a for sure crown and probable root canal. But after that, my chompers should be back into decent repair.


Pac-12 Alignments

It sure looks like the Pac-12 may go to a North-South split. It seems clear to me that a zipper schedule would actually be, you know, fair. Arranged correctly it could even preserve the Cali games. But, no, apparently the commissioner thinks that anything other than geo-based divisions would be "too confusing" to people outside the conference.

Here's an idea, commish: cultivate the best option within the conference. Jerkface.

Check out the "Pac-12 cooler" if you are interested in a conference alignment that makes sense.



Thanks so much, Masters of the Universe. From here:

Adam Levitin, a Georgetown University Law professor who specializes in, among many other financial regulatory issues, mortgage finance. Levitin says the documentation problems involved in the mortgage mess have the potential "to cloud title on not just foreclosed mortgages but on performing mortgages."

The article continues...

Real estate law requires real paper transfer of documents and titles, and a lot of the system went electronic without much regard to that persnickety rule. Mortgages and property titles are transferred several times in the process of a home purchase from originators to securitization sponsors to depositors to trusts. Trustees hold the note (which is the IOU on the mortgage), the mortgage (the security that says the house is collateral) and the assignment of the note and security instrument.

The issue is in that final stage getting to the trust. The law demands that when the papers get moved around they are "wet ink," that is, real signatures on real paper. But Prof. Levin tells me that's not the worst of it. Affidavits assigned to the notes and security instruments are supposed to be endorsed over to the trust at the time of sale, but in many foreclosure scenarios the affidavits have been backdated illegally.


So with the chain of documentation now in question, and trustee ownership in question, here is one legal scenario, according to Prof. Levitin:

"The mortgage is still owed, but there's going to be a problem figuring out who actually holds the mortgage, and they would be the ones bringing the foreclosure. You have a trust that has been getting payments from borrowers for years that it has no right to receive. So you might see borrowers suing the trusts saying give me my money back, you're stealing my money. You're going to then have trusts that don't have any assets that have been issuing securities that say they're backed by a whole bunch of assets, and you're going to have investors suing the trustees for failing to inspect the collateral files, which the trustees say they're going to do, and you're going to have trustees suing the securitization sponsors for violating their representations and warrantees about what they were transferring."

But I thought that financial innovation was supposed to benefit both the producers and the consumers!


Wave Update

Finished putting that thing together; it worked better before I finished it!




Not done yet. Bending the hardboard takes some time. But, plenty of progress, and I think it looks pretty cool. On the other hand, next time remind me to actually plan it out. Particularly if I'm going to be salvaging warped plywood previously cut to inconvenintly-sized pieces.

If you happen to see an 18V Black&Decker cordless circular saw anywhere, let me know, or pick it up for me and I'll reimburse you ;) I've been looking, but they're thin on the ground.

True Confession

I also robbed a bank with a merman during my guest stint on Meerkat Manor.



Since I saw an ad for the SoccerWave training aid, I have wanted one. But it costs $200 and is backordered anyhow. So I have set out to build one. I had some plywood from an aborted attempt at making a collapsable picinic table for Soren (wood was too thin), so I've repurposed it, and all but the curved ramp and the very top (I have supplies for both) are done. Should finish it tomorrow, hopefully. Would be easier with a circular saw.

Who is Snakebit Now?

Was walking along a parking median at the grocery store today, stepped in a hole concealed by grass and took a tumble. I'm sure it looked funny as hell, but I torques the ever-loving crap out of my ankle. Not so bad for straight-ahead walking in shoes, fortunately for the shopping list. Got home and took 'em off, though, and found that it is still pretty unpleasant. So, lucky, right?


Second Verse, Same as the First

Ran 2 miles at 9.3 mph, again.


Season Changing

Well, it isn't fully into fall (yet), but it surely is beginning. It has been lovely out the last several mornings, and well into the day.


2/3 of the Way There

Did 2 miles tonight at 9.3mph. Now to extend that to 3.1 miles.



Wow. Since yesterday evening I've been just epically tired. Dunno why.



Watched Real Madrid bs Ajax this morning. That Ronaldo just could not score. Hehehe. Poor Widdle Baybee.


Diane Rehm Show

I don't know who this guest is, but he just made the asinine claim that Peter Orszag's recent op-ed in the New York Times (where he argued that if the only way to extend the currently-scheduled-to-expire-per-the-legislation-passed-under-the-previous-administration middle-class tax rates is to also extend the (blahblahblah) rates for the rich, they should go ahead and extend the rates for the rich) might possibly be the reason he is now the former director of the OMB.

So stupid. He did the job for about 2 years. The average tenure for presidential appointees is less than 3 years. Dude has like 3 kids and juggles his many scandalous relationships all the time. He quit 'cause he was tired!


Not Getting Much Easier

Did 2 miles of intervals (30s/60s at 12mph/8mph) with a half mile on either side at 7mph (part of warm-up and cool-down)

My Invention

Imagine a set of billiard balls with various types of hair/textures. The gameplay would be bizarre and interesting.

St Louis Fed

Illustrates the data.



I'm following Susan in reading "Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter's Uncommon Year," by Laura Brodie. It is interesting, if overly precious.


Looking Silly in Public

Ran wind-sprints again, today. 8x70 yards, jogging back for recovery. Split a mile on either side, for warm-up and cool-down. People look awfully silly sprinting unless they're actual athletes. So I'm sure folks walking by or driving in the parking lot had a few chuckles.


Got my permanent crown put in today. Took a long time for not much. I scheduled this one for 0730, though, so at least I still was at work and such when my boss arrived.


I Don't Care

NPR, could you please do fewer stories on opera/tango singers who have been dead for 75 years? That's 7 minutes of input I'll never get back.


Slowly Lowly

Ran 4 miles, in 27:25, today.



Did some stationary bike, ran a mile (in 5:40 not a typo, I was hauling butt) and then some elliptical trainer. Whew.




Stomach has been fluttery, sleep disturbed, of late. Possibly because a briefing my boss and I wrote is going to very high levels of our hierarchy quite soon.


Ran 2 miles, 12:50.

Roughly the Same Age

Giggler Soren & Tail of Leo


Let's Go Faster!

Ran 2 miles today, in 12:40.


Run run run

Ran 2 miles in 12:55 today.



Total compensation to labor over time is... constant?



Dear Madam,

Perhaps you were unaware that spraying yourself with perfume on the bus is not a nice thing to do!



Did I Stutter (step)?

Ran 2 miles in 13:15 this evening.


Dear Sir,

Perhaps you did not know this, but there are some situations where paying with exact change is awfully inconsiderate. For your edification:

  • when your purchase is based on weight
  • when you are unable to correctly estimate the likely cost
  • when you don't know how much money and in what denominations you have
  • when you are at the head of very lengthy line





Susan's Mom gave Susan and me the gift of an evening out last night (her last here on her visit). We went to dinner and a movie. That was the first time we've gone to a movie together in 2.5 years (each of us went to a movie independently a bit more than a year ago). We saw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. It was outstanding.


Wheezy Gonzales

Ran intervals tonight. 8 x (60s at 8mph & 30s at 12mph). It was 2 miles in just over 13 minutes. Inordinately tough, not sure what my malfunction is.



Ran windsprints again this evening. 8x70 yards up a small slope, jogging back for recovery. Very tiring. Maybe too much, despite the fact that it was easier during the running.


A brilliant "screw you" letter here.



I was called to play again tonight. Game was at 11pm! Yikes! Still, I played okay-notched a "perfect" hat-trick. That's where you score with each foot and the head. I also got a hat-trick of assists. Not too shabby.



Did 2 miles worth of intervals in 12:55, this evening. Like periodic Fartlek.


Susan's Mom is visiting, so last night Susan and I went out to dinner at a "casual dining" restaurant. It was tasty and I have no doubt that they used shocking amounts of butter and cheese in our food. Getting away for a little time alone was nice.

The "casual dining" would be more interesting if it was "causal dining." If you eat item A, event B will happen! Guaranteed! Like Alice in Wonderland or The Matrix or something.


Fast As Fats Can Be

All of the treadmills were taken at the gym when I arrived this evening, and all the timers seemed to indicate that people had quite some time left in their slow, slow moseying. So I went outside and did sprints. 8x70 yards up a very slight grade, with slow jog back for recovery. It was tough. I can't believe I used to actually like doing windsprints.

I remember especially liking the ones during basketball season where you did lines (run from baseline to freethrow stripe, back to baseline, to half court, back to baseline, to far freethrow stripe, back to baseline, to the far baseline and back... while crouched over, pushing along the ground a 2"x4" wrapped in a slightly damp towel.

More Dental Adventures

They prepped and temporarily crowned my root-canal-ed tooth this afternoon. Also took moldings for a permanent one to be made. All in all it wasn't too bad, but they used a nasty little cautery on the gum surrounding the object tooth. That made it through the numbing agent, but it was quick.


Sore Hip

Dunno why, but my hip developed some kind of hitch yesterday evening. It isn't too bad most of the time, but uncomfortable enough that I'm anxious for it to pass. I am hopeful that it'll be over by Tuesday.



I ran 4 miles today in 30:05. I set out to do 5, but at 3 miles changed my mind. Weaksauce.


An Important Reminder

While Burlington Coat Factory is "more than great coats," it isn't all that much more.


A man just asked me if I had shined my shoes myself. This was apropos of nothing, just out and about in the building. Told him I did, not quite following the direction of his question. Turns out there was none, he was just impressed by how shiny they are. And here I thought they'd been looking a bit dodgy, of late.

Entrance to the Labor Market. Or: the Virtue of Luck

Nobody has much control over when they are born. Still, there are a couple of big switches one can throw with regard to when you enter the job market: decide to drop out of secondary school, decide to go to college, decide to seek a professional degree, pop out some babies, etc... but you still can't do much to predict ahead of time that you'll be job-hunting in a wrecked economy.

And it turns out that matters quite a bit. The entire track of your life can be changed, as these economists see just by looking at lifetime earnings.


Agin Runny

Ran 2 miles in 13:04 today.


More Classic Blogging

You should read this post. It is hilarious.


Stinking On Ice

Pretty poor performance from the US in this friendly match with Brazil. The Brazilian JV made it look like we were playing by echolocation or scent or something. I also do not approve of mohawks. The haircuts, not the similarly named and eponymous Native American tribe.

A Journey

Ran 4 miles in 29:31, this evening.



Yeah, I was right: I'm sore. In that, "Oh, wow, really? There?" way.

Google Autosuggest

When I type "when will" into the search field I get the following results:
  • when will i die
  • when will strasburg pitch next
  • when will the world end
  • when will verizon get the iphone
  • when will stasburg pitch
  • when will i be mayor
  • when will strasburg pitch again
  • when will strasburg be called up
  • when will verizon get iphone
  • when will the new ipone come out

Don't you love the thought of the same person querying again and again, desperately wanting google to give them the answer to life, the universe, when Strasburg will pitch, and iphone availability schedules?

Also, "when will i be mayor" is a good one. Like some petulant city council member mistaking google for a Magic 8-Ball.


Last Minute Soccer

Got asked last night to come play (as cover for missing regulars) for an open division coed indoor team. So I went over to the nearby facility tonight for their double-header... Brutal! But fun. We won both games (25 minute halves, and we had 1-2 subs forr the men) and I played alright. No injuries but I will be sore tomorrow.


I've Got Speed. I've Got Velocity

Ran 2 miles in 13:15 today.



Roughly one year ago I posted this item.


Roughly six years ago I posted this item.


Roughly two years ago I posted this item.


About three years ago I posted this item.


About four years ago I posted this item.


Roughly five years ago, I posted this item.


Still tired in the legs from running last night. 9 mph appears to be my current speed limit for distances above a mile. 9.3 mph is my target rate for 5k, so it'll take a while for me to get to that, still. Boo.


Stepping Up

Ran 2 miles today, in 13:20.

More statistics

Nationmaster has 'em.

Mind the Gap

A cool site here, called "Gapminder" allows interesting visualizations of different national statistics over time.


Another Handy Rule of Thumb

Everything is always in decline. Corollary: The "Good old days" never were.


No Running Today

Because I went down to Norfolk Naval Station to tour some stuff. Pretty big ships there, I tell you what.


Delicious Dinner

Susan had the good idea to get one of those precooked chickens from the store, tonight. She also made some quinoa and brussels sprouts to go with, and I popped some biscuits in the oven. It was a tasty dinner. I'd like to do more chicken roasting, since it is such a simple and cost-effective dish, and often not even a time-consuming one. Guess we need to see if they have good roasters at the nearby groceries.

The Pitter-Patter of Smelly Feet

Ran 5k in 21:49.


Continuing Apace

Ran 2 miles in 13:44.


Running Man

Did 2 miles in 13:40.

Sorry, Can't

Got a call from our old bank about some business. They need me to come by the branch and pick up a form. Sure! I'll drive right over. It's just 2,285 miles. See ya in a few minutes.

Dear Nth Bank of Citimerica Fargo, look into mail or parcel services. I have it on reliable authority that several alternatives exist. I'm also sure that the rate you've paid me is comfortably exceeded by the return you've made on my deposits... you can afford the stamp.



Rick Warren, prominent evangelical leader, was recently injured by a plant in his yard. He has been known for his support for responsible stewardship of the environment-a sentiment not totally disconnected from that discussed in the book "Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy," by Matthew Scully (this was an interesting if occasionally irritating and obtuse book, but I gave it away after reading it several years ago).

I wonder if he'll still feel that way when he recovers?

Google Autosuggest

When I type "the world's worst" into Google's search field I get the following:
  • the world's worst economies
  • the world's worst oil spills
  • the world's worst website
  • the world's worst game
  • the world's worst dictators
  • the world's worst wedding dj
  • the world's worst prison
  • the world's worst dj
  • the world's worst cars
  • the world's worst hurricane
Hmm. Strangely boring, except apparently there are a lot of really terrible DJs. Who knew?

She Knows His Love's in Texas

Please watch this and tell me that monkeys shouldn't be allowed to compete at the rodeo. UPDATE: "Texas" s/b "Tulsa" yes?

Further Adventures in Dentistry

Another day, another dentist attack! Got some more fillings, and a root canal. It took a lot longer. Possibly because I complained about my jaw aching from the bite-blocker, and they gave me several breaks. Also possible because they had to use microscopic files to excavate my teeth to a depth of about 1.1 meters. Took about ninety minutes for the two fillings and the root canal. They used temporary fillings on the root canal because some time is needed to tell if the results are good, upon which they'll clean that out and permanently fill and crown that tooth.

Feels pretty weird right now, and I have a headache I'm pretty sure from the jaw-torquing and whatnot. And the numbing.


My Running Gag

2 miles, 13:54.

Future World Cups

This article discusses the state of bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. It is widely believed that the 2018 World Cup will be awarded to an European nation (following the 2010 WC in South Africa and the 2014 WC scheduled for Brazil). The leading candidates in Europe for 2018 seem to be England, Russia, and a shared bid by Benelux. Also possible are (apparently, and highly unlikely in my mind) Qatar, and, maybe, Australia.

Qatar is so unlikely. They don't really meet any of the criteria that FIFA talks about in public, and from a common sense (and good-faith) standpoint can't seem to hope to support the required infrastructure: there are only five airports in Bahrain (just three of which are paved); there are only 1.7M people in Qatar(one expects >2M visitors for a WC); there are only about 3 cities of any size in Qatar; the average summer high is nicely above 100F (going to build 8 enclosed stadia for your .75M residents?). The only point-of-view from which Qatar makes much sense is corruption: the powers that be at FIFA could line their pockets with oil money. I suppose that holding the WC in a Middle Eastern country might serve as a "regional" World Cup, but most of the countries in that region are already mad about soccer.

The "already mad about soccer" theme holds true in the old European nations like England and Benelux, too. Russia not nearly as much, and serves a large population where you can imagine increasing soccer-penetration. Russia has at least marginally sufficient infrastructure. You also have lots of opportunities for personal corruption in Russia.

My bet is Russia in 2018 and USA in 2022.


A Terrible Road, My Son

From here this outstanding beginning:
In 1820, the Hungarian noble Farkas Bolyai wrote an impassioned cautionary letter to his son Janos:
"I know this way to the very end. I have traversed this bottomless night, which extinguished all light and joy in my life… It can deprive you of your leisure, your health, your peace of mind, and your entire happiness… I turned back when I saw that no man can reach the bottom of this night. I turned back unconsoled, pitying myself and all mankind. Learn from my example…"
Bolyai wasn't warning his son off gambling, or poetry, or a poorly chosen love affair. He was trying to keep him away from non-Euclidean geometry. Staging an intervention to keep a child out of math trouble comes off as comic to the modern reader. But in the early nineteenth century, as Amir Alexander ably demonstrates in Duel at Dawn, mathematics was viewed as a passion on par with poetry—an occupation that could lift a youth like Janos Bolyai to exalted heights, and just as quickly fling him into death or dissolution.

Don't Tread On Me?

Ran 2 miles in 14:30.


Not Real, But For the Record

Ran 5k today, in 22:24.


Energy Storage

One of the interesting points I've seen for a while about Peak Oil is that one way to think of the (probably inevitable, even if not imminent) transition away from complete dependence of our economy on fossil fuels to anything except nuclear power will entail a shift in importance from stocks to flows and a need to devise much better energy storage media.

Good Riddance

Another crappy game! Boo! Another game without injury! Yay! Our season is now over, so I'm trying to catch on with a weekend league instead of this weekday stuff. I have two leads, but I don't know how well they'll pan out. The problem is that there are usually more than enough men for both the coed and men-only leagues, so it can be tough to break into a team. And I've pretty much had it with being the team organizer for a bunch of adults unable to reliably show up in time to begin (or at all).

It seemed throughout the season that the other teams had a lot of younger players and solid females. We only had a few younger men and a pair of solid females, and only a couple of people in good enough shape for the rate of play (not me, unfortunately).

I'm going to try to get back into good cv fitness and work on the recovery aspects... Sprint-jog-sprint-jog for 25 minutes over an hour is rather different from the running I'd done in prep for the season (I was up to 2-4 miles at a stretch, generally around 7-7:30/mile, a few times per week). Since clearing my injury streak I've been doing about 2 miles' worth of intervals on 1:4 ratio of 5:7.5 minutes/mile. I'm thinking I'll go to a 1:3 ratio and push up the recovery rate a little bit, maybe extend to 3 miles' worth of intervals.

Realistically I probably need to get on an actual track or field and do windsprints as my high-intensity phases are already at the treadmill max and I ought to push for the high-phases to something more like my actual maximum speed.


Hot Enough For Me

It is a steamy time of year, here. The humidity, in particular, is rough, keeping the heat in until quite late. I wonder if we've been setting records lately. I know that we've been trending up in such swings:

But it is tough to say within the last several years (as opposed to the last decade) if that's the case.


Apparently the ratio is definitely increasing even within the decade.


Useful Website

Measuring Worth: lots of inflation adjustments.

Adventures in Dentistry

Had a dental appointment this morning. It was brief and uncomfortable. The drilling wasn't a problem, as the dentist jabbed me about a dozen times with his numbing needles. However, he wedged my jaw open with something that looked like a small door-stopper, which was highly unpleasant. I do not have a flip-top head. Also fun was the delightful suction/spray-thingie constantly making me feel like I was being waterboarded.

"Waterboarded" is of course an exaggeration, but I didn't like it at all.


Ship Traffic Near BP Wildish Well



Played like crap last night. Once again avoided injury, though, so that's good.



Below is an aerial view of one of the venues we've played indoor soccer this season...

View Larger Map

It is colloquially referred to as "the Gunston Bubble." Lest you think the "Bubble" designation is unearned, see this other view...

View Larger Map

It is quite like playing in a greenhouse, too. Great fun in the muggy summer weather we've had the last few games.

Google Auto Suggest

When typing in "world's best" I get the following auto suggestions:
  • world's best cat litter
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  • world's best universities
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  • world's best soccer player
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A few nice straightforward suggestions... a few less so. Damn this is a compelling cat litter review! Holy crap what a rebate! This coupon... is the best deal I've ever gotten on cat litter!


New Multifeed Link

Click here for oil-spewing goodness!


Forgotten How

I've more or less forgotten how to play chess. I still know the rules, and basically what is going on, but my (admittedly never razor-sharp) Spidey Sense has disappeared. I used to enjoy playing quite a bit, and even got somewhat good for a few months in college, playing with a post doc in the physics department at U of O. Now, however, I have downloaded a little chess app for the iPod, and reliably lose at just its third level of difficulty. Moreover, it is due to mortifying stupidity!



I made a grilled pepper and beet and bacon salad as a side dish tonight. With a honey-balsalmic vinegarette. It was really good. Roughly, I julienned each, then grilled them (on the Foreman grill). Used 3 pieces of bacon, 1/2 bell pepper, and three steamed beets. This was slightly too much bacon. You'll want to make this bacon crispy, and develop a bit of char if possible, here and there.

Winning Streak Fail

We had a makeup game for our previously abandoned match (caused by a power outage at the facility) last night. It was my team's last choice of time/date. In fact, it was the worst option for which we could literally field a team, and that with just two men and four women. We had a straggler male arrive with about 20 minutes left in the second half. So I'm pretty tired; I was our team's only outfield male player (the other guy played in goal) for a full 30 minutes. That's too much for me right now, really.

Fortunately no injuries or problems other than fatigue. I guess I have a good bruise forming on my instep where a got his heel-studs in the way of my shot. Ouchie for me. I scored again, but overall was too gassed to play very well after the first 20 minutes.


Think We Have Coaching Problems?

From here:
The serious qualification is the Grade A UEFA license, at which level Spain have 750 qualified and England 150. Of those, 640 of the Spanish Grade A licensed coaches work with children and youth players, compared to none in England.
Well, I don't know, honestly, what boat we're in. Hard information about USSF operations is hard to come by.


Bad Calls

With all the bad calls in the World Cup, the head of FIFA has said that the question of "using technology" to assist in officiating will be reopened after being rejected some time ago. Some fancy-pants former player of great stature has, in response, said that "goal-line" technology and video review should not be used, but extra refs would possibly be okay.

Well, of course that's what he's going to say. He can drum up more work for his friends that way!


Google Auto Suggest

When typing in "How long i" I get the following auto suggestions:
  • How long is the w&od bike trail
  • How long is the great wall of China
  • How long is a 5k
  • How long is a marathon
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Wow. How long is a 5k? What color was Napoleon's white horse?

Done Returned

Yester-evening I played on my indoor soccer team for the first time since in about six weeks. Between the never-ending quad injuries and then my back spasm, I've been spending a lot of frustrating time on the sidelines. Mostly organizing subs and acting as a hortator.

It went well, despite the fact that I was weak and giddy from not eating until too late and then eating too little. I hate that feeling, don't you? I could tell while warming up (something I did a lot of today) that the fitness I'd built up has decayed alarmingly, too.

We won, something like 8-5. I scored a brace (on three shots), and had a pair of assists too! Should have been three of each, but I was robbed by a brilliantly lucky deflection by a lunging defender (another goal) and then a poor control of my through-ball by one of my team-mates.

Best of all: I feel pretty good this morning. No twinges in the back, no problems in the quads. I didn't really unload on any shots or passes or anything, though. Figure I should take it easy for a while longer, maybe do some purposeful additional rehab-type exercises.


Google Auto Suggest

When typing in "What is this o" I get auto suggestions that say:
  • What is this object
  • What is this ominous light that threatens to engulf us
  • What is this of which you speak
  • What is this on my lip
  • What is this old man about
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  • What is this one rule to a flat stomach
  • What is this old tool
  • What is this oil spill
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This isn't as funny of a list as the last one. I guess herpes is just intrinsically funny.


Nose, Face, Meet Politeness

I generally support good manners. I try to be curteous in most situations (as with everyone, I certainly lapse now and again). Some times, however, that "polite gesture" is just a pain in the rear for everyone else around you.

Mornings lately I've been taking the complex shuttle (ei ride?), and have been fairly aggravated by this one fellow's consistent behavior. Typically a line forms up for entry. He is in line, and stops at the door and offers people to get on before him. His gallantry delays everyone just that little bit, for no discernable reason: DUDE, you are in a line, are you unaware of the function?

As ever, I think the best rule is to try and act to minimize the hassle (technically defined as the product of the time to accomplish the task with the sum of WTFs and "No you first"s [Interesting: hassle has units of time. That seems right, actually.]) for all parties. The result is that when everyone else is clearly operating by the "first come, first served" rule, your adoption of the polite persona imposes a cost on everyone else. Thanks!


Enjoying Paul Krugman Lately?

He's quite a Debbie Downer, not that I can gainsay him. But he's also been hilarious of late:

On fears of inflation, Krugman introduces invisible bond vigilantes. Indeed: invisible bond vigilantes are invisible.

On freshwater economics, Krugman busts out the epicycles (more on epicycles)

A Reminder

The phrase "I don't understand why they don't just" is very rarely followed by anything insightful. In most cases, the low-hanging fruit has been picked. Not always.



John Maynard Keynes once wrote:
The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again. (emphasis added)

Once, a few years several months ago, I was in some seminar and the Simon-Ehrlich wager came up. This was a bet about scarcity of commodity metals (really as a proxy for general resource scarcity due to greatly expanding population). Ehrlich (who believed the prices would go up) lost, and badly.(Edited for subtraction error)

My reply was, of course, that while the term of the wager specified a 10-year period, time might still tell, and Simon had already "entered the long run."

The economist who was presenting snort-laughed and said something like "you must be an economist".

"Goodness, no," I replied.

This would have been in May of 2009. Google says that would have been the first time for that metaphor to appear on the internet... had I actually blogged it. Oops!


Crashing Out

USMNT: Glad you advanced, was hoping for more. Once again, you showed incredible heart, and fair craft at times, both of which things I love. Hold your heads up, have fantastic club seasons, and I will absolutely tune in whenever y'all are on.

ESPN/ABC/Other networks: all(Ed: some*) of your sponsors deserve and will get some business from me. Show more soccer; do it year-round (you can, since MLS runs a counter-schedule). You really did pretty good, and I enjoyed your broadcasts. Except those damn vuvuzelas.

MLS: we need a reserve division or league, and more academy signings. Only some of our talent can be developed in other countries!

USSF: more friendlies--do some in the PNW (the setting up of a nice triangle rivalry between Vancouver, Portland, and Seattle MLS franchises is very exciting!)

*some are just a bridge too far, though. I hate that damn Bing commercial. And the Adidas commercials aren't doing Adidas any favors. Just so stupid. Though I was amused briefly by the one where the narrator says "Late to a contest of speed. The irony."

Too Much Time with Toddlers

Last Thursday we had another indoor game. I'm still not ready to play (back spasm is much better but not fully relieved and I'm terrified that my quad will strain again--seriously, why, God?) but I'm the manager and so I go to keep track of substitutions, and coach the players a little bit (almost entirely regarding positioning, since we have NO natural defenders).

One of our players took a big shot and nailed one of the other team's players. Unthinking, I shouted out "Oh! Bonk!"

So embarrassing.


Seriously, Can I Buy a Break?

Last Wednesday afternoon I tweaked my back again and was terribly uncomfortable (lower back-related-spasm activities). Thought it was going to be all better yesterday, felt pretty good all day. Sitting in my desk I twisted a bit and felt like I'd been hit by lightning, followed by a general re-clenching of the back muscles that'd just been insulted.

So, that was really painful. Bad enough that I begged off work the rest of the afternoon and set an appointment at the doctor's office for this morning.

The usual prodding plus a spinal x-ray later, they sent me off with a scrip for something to release the spasms. I am hoping that will set things right.


Google Auto Suggest

When typing in "Looks like he" I get auto suggestions that say:
  • looks like herpes but is not
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  • looks like he hit the tree jim
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Googlers: be safe, please.

Something I Do Not Like

I'm not a big fan of the use of "How's it going?" or "How are you doing?" as a generic greeting. These are both questions, and demand something other than "hi," or worse, "How are you?" I know it is more difficult, but either ask/answer the question, or stop doing that!


Albion's Seed: A Capsule Review

David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed:Four British Folkways in America is quite the tome. In it, Fischer uses historiographic techniques to (ultimately) reflect on the question: What are the determinants of a free society? Clocking in at 972 pages, it can take a while even for the dedicated reader. For the distracted reader, it takes on almost epic dimensions. I found that the best strategy for me (the distracted reader) was to treat the main sections as separate books.

In turn, Fischer considers four great migrations from Britain to the US: the Puritan migration from the East of England to New England (mainly 1630-1640), the migration of fancypants from the South of England to Virginia (~1640-1670), the Quakers coming from the North Midlands of England to the Deleware River Valley (~1680-1730), and the migration of the riff-raff to the Appalachian back country (~1720-1780). He examines a variety of aspects of life, including religion, magic, work, age, architecture, sport, conceptions of liberty, marriage and sex, language and literacy, and child rearing (among a few others). Each of the great migrations is examined at length, so as you read each section, you get quite a portrait of the people and times.

In the concluding materials of the book, Fischer synthesizes the whole into a view that is fairly commonplace (though I don't know how much it was so during the peak of his work and work-life): regionalism in the United States is extremely alive and well, and has been with the exception of very brief interludes in our history. Still, it was absolutely worth reading, if only for the diary excerpts and the interesting discussion of characteristic architecture of the migrants in their new homelands (turns out it was a lot like the architecture of wherever they came from). I'll recreate from memory one example of the great diary excerpts...

A certain Southern Gentleman and his wife had an extremely contentious marriage. They fought all the time, didn't seem to like each other very much at all. One day, some hours after a loud spat, the Colonel asked his wife along for a carriage ride. They went, and after some time, he turned off the road and drove straight into the Chesapeake. Asked by the wife where he was headed, he replied "to Hell, Madam." The horses began to swim, and she said "Carry on. Anyplace is better than Arlington."

Now, this is funny but sad, of course. They really didn't make each other happy--when he died, he had left direction that his unhappiness in marriage was to be commemorated on his grave-marker. This was to read something like "Colonel John Custis, died at 71 years, but alive only 7, when he kept a bachelor's apartment". Talk about acrimony!

Also amusing was the discussion of place names in Appalachia. I won't reproduce it, but they were... earthy.



Just caught an episode of Magnum PI while packing up before I check out tomorrow. It was a crossover ep. With Murder She Wrote. Thoroughly outstanding.


Another Week Another Injury?

No, no. I'm just not done whining about my last one. I can still feel a little tenderness to the touch, but none from scuffing my feet (seriously that was an uncomfortable and weird symptom), and just a hint while walking quickly.

In order to not slob out with my period of injury I decided to try to swim. Ordinarily you might think, "Gee, Tom, people kick when they swim and kicking is what got you into this mess in the first place!" However, it turns out that my legs are pretty much just fleshly drogues when it comes to swimming. I don't know why this is, but I discovered it some while back when I was swimming for exercise--there's no difference in my speed between when I kick and when I don't (at least in the crawl). That shouldn't be, since the kick is supposed to stabilize you and result in a higher position in the water (both helpful, speedier, things). One time, back in school, one of the swim coaches gave me a pointer as I clung to the wall gasping after a set. I tried it and immediately went much faster. But it disappeared from my body's memory like a dream that also disappeared from my mind's memory... The upshot is that swimming kicks my butt, and I don't kick much at all when I swim, so Robert's my relation.

In additional swimming-related news, I found that when I breathe once every fifth arm recovery I go significantly faster, at the expense of only being able to go about 100 yds before I need to do some catch-up breathing. Weird. Or not. I really don't know. Also, doing laps in a 25' long pool sucks, because I really want to push off the wall all fast, since that feels cool, but it isn't as good at exercising you, so I have to be extra vigilant about lackadaisically turning in a lame fashion.


Stupid Old Muscles

Went to the doctor today, since my leg was feeling distinctly worse after pushing the kitty litter box out of the hall with my foot on Saturday night. He confirmed my guess that I had a mild Grade II strain (very mild ecchymosis along with the other signs like sharp pain, inability to play on, pain on touching, etc).

Apparently it can take up to 10 weeks to get all the way better from that. SUCKS.

So what cardio can I do in the meantime? I'm not buying a crank bike (Aside: my first search at Amazon for this led to Wrenching 101).


More Games

Two weeks ago I kinda strained my quad, so took it pretty easy over the next week, with only light running, etc. Thought it was better last week, but discovered during our game that it was not. Came out of that game with a nice goal, a near loss, and TWO strained quads.

This week I've done no running at all, spent the first couple of days with ice packs and then alternating heat and ice, and am planning on playing half in the goal, and not shooting for the half I'm not the goalie!

I am hopeful that by next week I'll actually be up to working out, and then playing, but we'll see. Being prematurely old is no good.

In other news, I read two of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's books (The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness. I found these to be substantially the same book! Furthermore, he's kind of a showoff, rubbing your nose in his erudition. Ordinarily that isn't too bad... I mean, I thought the same thing when I started reading American Gods... but unlike with American Gods, that feeling did not go away with Taleb's books. Take from that what you will. I guess I tend to be okay with any level of snobbery less than or equal to my own?

Content-wise, I'd say the motivating ideas are worth consideration, though a fair bit of the social science research he discusses is better presented in Nudge, or even in the original works. (See, I am too well educated, Taleb. You jerk.)


First Game

Didn't go well, score-wise. I think it was 3-3 or so after the first half, but we just didn't have the energy to keep it up in the second! Still, it was fun, though frustrating that the mind knows what to do but the body is unwilling. This, despite all the running and exercising I've done since the end of February, when I decided I wanted to be "ready."



First game is this Thursday. Hope we have fun!


Possibly Mankind's Greatest Achievement

Turkey Hill Extreme Cookies 'N Cream ice cream. It is AMAZING. It contains decent chocolate ice cream and that crunchy stuff from inside Thin Mints. NOM NOM NOM NOM


Retirement Party

First one I've been to, on Tuesday. The General who'd been acting as the head of our Directorate is all done with us, heading off to greener pastures. Many gag gifts were given, and then a sweet golf-bag in the Marine Corps colors with a custom embroidered Corps logo and stars in the number he's leaving behind.

In connection with the golf bag, he was also given some Army and Navy towels... with which to wash his balls.


Safe and Sound

No idea what happened this evening at the Pentagon Metro entrance; while I do go through there every day, I was home and in the gym by the time that today's crazy events unfolded.


Weird Overheard

Walking home from the metro station, I passed a big thuggish looking fellow talking into his cell phone. I'm a pretty swift walker, and he was heading the opposite direction, so I only caught a very small tidbit of his conversation. He said, "I'm talkin' cuddlin' an' sh*t!"



Well, there are some more Olympics happening again, so it is time for another rant about the subset of Olympic activities that are subjective spectacles frequently misnamed as "sports." The lack of an objective "counter" (e.g., "a goal" or "a basket", etc.) makes these events inherently unfair--so much the worse that the judging is rendered in-auditable by the viewer!

Since a fair portion of the appeal of these events is aesthetic--which is immune to adjudication--we are left with the conundrum of how to tell who wins. My simple solution is this: HORSE. Have all parties do a program of tricks to qualify--make it tough and go ahead and use a judging panel--and then have subsets of the qualifiers do ascending round-robins of HORSE to determine the qualifiers for an 8 person HORSE tournament with random seedings. The need to master the fundamentals is preserved, and the need to outdo one's competitor would continually raise the bar of competition, making the athletic and innovative skaters shine even more!

Note: in order to make the judging panel fair, increase the membership significantly and select a random subset of the scores--always excluding judges from the competitors' countries.

Metro Train Derailment

Was on a different line, and quite a bit after I got off at work. Won't affect me appreciably.


Oh Dear God

Eleri actually pooped on me today. That is a feat which Soren never managed, and which I thought I might have been destined to avoid. No longer. I feel so unclean.



I've probably shoveled snow for about 8 or 9 hours this winter. It is fairly good exercise. But you know, when your hands are very cold, it is possible to bruise the heck out of them and not know it until rather later.


A Sentence

Soren said "Daddy, lie down, please!" This morning. He wanted airplane-type games.


Soccer and Cheese?

We were watching the AC Milan vs. Siena match this morning. Massimo Maccarone had a golden opportunity about 25 minutes into the first half--an 8 yard sitter, which he skied over the goal. I called out, "Come on, Maccarone! You have to do better!"

Soren immediately parroted, "Come on, Mac Cheese!"