Archive for September, 2012

Plant Pun

pun picture of a hosta plant with sunglasses saying hosta la vista instead of hasta la vista

You cannot stop The Ferninator

I know, I know … it’s a hosta, not a fern. How about if we say the hosta is a Model 101 and the fern is a T-1000?

For thus the Lord said to me, “In a year, as a hired man would count it, all the splendor of Kedar will terminate;”

Isaiah 21:16

Football Consensus

Some people were disappointed that my site’s consensus pick for week 2 of the 2012 NFL season was incorrect. After pondering what happened, I am not going to blame the officiating. Rather, I will just have my disclaimer ready.

Warning: consensus picks are no more than 85% accurate.

I went through the whole 2011 season and tallied how many consensus picks there were and how many times it was correct. (One of the many uses for spreadsheets…) I did that for when all 8 forecasting methods agreed, as well as 7 of 8, 6 of 8, and 5 of 8.

Here are the results:

Week 8 7 6 5 8 7 6 5
1 2 / 4 2 / 3 2 / 2 1 / 2 50% 67% 100% 50%
2 2 / 2 2 / 4 5 / 6 0 / 2 100% 50% 83% 0%
3 1 / 1 2 / 3 4 / 5 4 / 5 100% 67% 80% 80%
4 3 / 3 3 / 3 1 / 1 0 / 2 100% 100% 100% 0%
5 1 / 2 2 / 2 1 / 2 3 / 3 50% 100% 50% 100%
6 2 / 3 4 / 5 2 / 2 0 / 1 67% 80% 100% 0%
7 1 / 1 2 / 3 1 / 3 1 / 3 100% 67% 33% 33%
8 2 / 2 1 / 2 3 / 4 2 / 2 100% 50% 75% 100%
9 1 / 2 3 / 5 2 / 3 0 / 2 50% 60% 67% 0%
10 1 / 1 0 / 2 1 / 2 5 / 8 100% 0% 50% 63%
11 5 / 5 1 / 1 3 / 3 1 / 4 100% 100% 100% 25%
12 3 / 3 2 / 2 2 / 4 3 / 5 100% 100% 50% 60%
13 3 / 4 1 / 1 4 / 6 3 / 3 75% 100% 67% 100%
14 6 / 6 3 / 3 1 / 2 1 / 3 100% 100% 50% 33%
15 1 / 2 1 / 2 1 / 2 2 / 6 50% 50% 50% 33%
16 3 / 3 1 / 3 4 / 4 1 / 2 100% 33% 100% 50%
17 4 / 4 1 / 1 2 / 2 3 / 5 100% 100% 100% 60%
Total 41/ 48 31 / 45 39 / 53 30 / 58 85% 69% 74% 52%

So, if all 8 picks agree, they have an 85% chance of being right. Since they were wrong in week 2, they should be correct for the next several picks.

For by wise guidance you will wage war, And in abundance of counselors there is victory.

Proverbs 24:6

Half Race Results

This recently-completed weekend was the unofficial Holland Half-Marathon.

  • I say “unofficial” because it didn’t really happen for most of us there. Although there were hundreds of runners there, only about 15 or so actually got results.

    That’s because there was too much lightning in the area, so the race organizers packed up the equipment for the finish line and they left. They were telling people that the race was black-flagged, but no one told us runners that. It’s a good thing I had my watch and was keeping my own time, because my chip was useless for anything after the 84-minute mark.

  • So I finished, got my finisher medal and bottle of water (thanks to those volunteers for sticking around), and stretched my legs. Then, as we were walking to the food tables (which had been moved to the gym for weather reasons), it started raining more. And hailing. I grabbed some food, saw the (few) race results, then got in my parents’ minivan for the ride back to my sister’s house. The weather was a far cry from last year’s 70-and-sunny day.
  • That was the most notable thing about the race. That, and my sister won her age group for the 5k. Since she finished in under 84 minutes, she did get an official result, as did my brother-in-law.
  • The other notable thing about the race, at least to me, was that there was a blind runner. I had never seen someone running blind before, so that’s why it was notable. Next time, it won’t be so notable.

    I saw the guy around the quarter- or half-mile mark. He had the red and white cane like one would expect, but the end was a plastic ball so that it would slide on the pavement. He didn’t tap the cane – he just pushed it along. I wasn’t quite sure that he was fully blind though, until he missed the turn after the 1-mile mark. He might have run into the police car that was there to block traffic, if it hadn’t been for the race volunteer standing there to direct the runners. She caught him just in time and directed back with the rest of us runners.

    Shortly after that, I noticed a guy in a black running shirt with green trim. He started running with the blind guy (I’ll call him Scott because I think that’s his name). The new guy’s shirt said “Team Gazelle” on it, and I gathered from some of his conversation with Scott that he worked for Gazelle Sports (which happens to be a sponsor of the Park 2 Park race). The Gazelle guy (whom I’ll call Rob because I don’t really know his name) then ran with Scott for the rest of the race, all 11.5 miles that we had left.

  • I ran about the same pace as Scott – they were either just ahead of me or just behind me until about mile 8.5, when Scott had to stop and stretch his legs and they never caught back up to me after that. I must commend Rob for going above and beyond his obligations – he ran with Scott, helped him make turns and avoid obstacles (some large puddles were on the course), kept a conversation going, and even got him water at the water stations. Scott would keep running past the water stations, and Rob would stop, get two waters, catch back up to Scott, and hand him a cup of water.

    I’ve never been to Gazelle Sports, but if that’s the kind of service and support they give to someone who is not a customer, imagine how they treat someone who walks into their store. I saw Rob after the race, but the gym was crowded with people and my family was waiting for me so I didn’t get a chance to ask him any questions. And since there are no race results, I can’t confirm that Scott was his real name or make an educated guess as to what Rob’s name might be (other than that is the name of one of the guys on the Gazelle Sports website).

  • I’ll finish with one tip: be sure to eat before you run. That was my mistake I made when I first started running marathons (and halves) – I did not eat much breakfast, because everyone knows you are not supposed to eat and run. Think about it this way: you will burn through at least 1500 calories running a half-marathon (or 3000 calories for a full marathon). If you do not have a good amount of food in you, from where will those calories come? Answer: they won’t, and your body will try to shut down during the race because it doesn’t have enough energy to run.

    So if you’re wondering “Should I eat before a race?” the answer is “yes”. Don’t eat right before the race – I try to finish eating at least an hour before the race. For this half, I had about 2 scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of ham, a yogurt, a Nutri-Grain bar, a bowl of cereal, and half a banana. For a 5k, I’d allow more time between eating a running, probably more like 3 hours. And I wouldn’t eat as much.

That’s it for this race update. I’m sure you will be eagerly awaiting next month’s race update (sneak preview: I ran, I finished, I can still walk) (sneak preview is subject to change without notice).

‘Cursed is he who misleads a blind person on the road.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

Deuteronomy 27:18

New Look at an Old Proverb

photo of a pride of lions walking in front of a waterfall - pride goes before a fall

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

Presidential Promises

Dear Presidential Candidates:

I won’t trust much of what goes on in the campaign; in fact, I won’t even pay attention to it. But if you do want to gain my attention – and my vote – then please include these items in your promises to the American people.

Promise us that

  • we will be able to keep our shoes on our feet at the airport;
  • we will be able to buy any kind of light bulb we want;
  • Presidents’ Day will be observed on the Monday following the first Sunday in February; and
  • anyone who tries a pen or marker, sees that it doesn’t work, and puts it back in place (instead of throwing it away) will be fined a day’s pay.

For the second-to-last item, a candidate could promise to observe Groundhog Day on that day, or make up a new holiday. The point is to give us that Monday off, to recover from the Super Bowl.

For that last point, an additional consequence should be that the person cannot vote in the next election. If someone is going to re-elect a writing utensil that everyone agrees is bad, how can he be trusted not to re-elect a bad president, governor, or congressman?

What would you like to add to the list?

You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God, what you have promised.

Deuteronomy 23:23

Movie Sequels

Good Movie Sequels

  • Star Wars, Episodes 5 and 6
  • Rocky 2, 3, and 4
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Toy Story 2 and 3
  • Any Jackie Chan movies made in China

Bad Movie Sequels

  • The Matrix 2 and 3 (Reloaded and Revolutions)
  • Rocky 5
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • Back to the Future 2 and 3
  • Any Jackie Chan movies made in America

The movies on the bad list are not worth your time. If you have an opportunity to see those movies, I advise you to skip them. The first movie in the series may be entertaining, but quit while you’re ahead and do not see these.

Regarding the movies on the good list: If you liked the first movie in the series, I think you’ll like the others that I listed.

For both lists, I restricted the list to movies that I have seen. For example, I’ve heard that Iron Man 2 is not worth seeing, but since I have not seen it, I did not include it.

Any others that I forgot? Or what would you like to add to either list?

I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me.

Psalm 101:3

Manager’s Keyboard

I took a picture of this keyboard. A fellow engineer had modified it with labels so that it would be matched to the workload of a certain co-worker of his. I apologize for the quality of the photo, but I’ll list the keys afterward.

photo of the Manager's Keyboard

Note: “Eng” means engineer.
Top Row: Complain to Chief Eng 1, Complain to Chief Eng 2, Complain to Chief Eng 3
Middle Row: Forward to Eng 1, Forward to Eng 2, Forward to Eng 3
Bottom Row: Forward to Manager 1, Forward to Manager 2, Forward to Manager 3
Navigation Keys: Yes, We’ll Do That
Num Pad: Select Project 1, Select Project 2

And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’

Luke 16:2