20 April 2014

Take the Initiative

My apologies if the GIFs on this page take a long time to load. It was too funny not to post.

17 April 2014

Heart of a Champion

My friends kid likes to get ready for naps by putting her arms above her head.

Two months old and already winning at life.

Walkie Talkies Are the Best

Walkie Talkies never get old. Still super awesome.
Thanks Alligator Sunglasses.

No updates lately because of that other thing. Will get caught up on the backlog this weekend.

09 April 2014

Pay Me

Me, checking to see if my tax return came in yet.

06 April 2014

Backlog: Commentary

I got some good comments that I haven't had a chance to get caught up with. Posting a quick photo or whatever takes no time at all. But I'm procrastinating ready now so here we are.

On the sweet photo from when I was younger and my back didn't hurt:
Big Cheese says: actually took note of the t-shirt when I found this.
but more importantly what is the story with titanfall? you over it?
//To which I respond: I couldn't find a way to have fun in the game. The super twitchy gameplay didn't suit me so I died a lot, even after adjusting strategy and loadouts. The game is intended for solo players playing team deathmatch. I like social, objective-based game types. The maps are too small and 6v6 gameplay sucks. There are no rewards for team-based gameplay and the map does not indicate where your teammates are so you cannot exploit any type of advantage by communicating. Not, in my opinion, a good game. Battlefield is far superior but DICE has had wayyyyy too many server issues on the xbone version. Sucks.

Sweet Katie said some nice things about that photo from the wayback machine.
//TWIR: you're the sweetest.

Anonymous commenting on the same photo:
My wife: Oh my god. I don't even really recognize him.
//TWIR: That's pretty much exactly how I feel when I look at it. So.

Ze Newbs and Spud both left awesome Trainspotting-related comments on my post about Tam getting fired intae Thief. Not much to say about that except, Do you shee the beasht? Have you got him in your shights?
Clear enough Mish Moneypenny! Thish should preshent noooo shignificant problem.

Not for nothing, but Landon Donovan scoring in 2010 is the new Archie Gemmill scoring in 1978.

And finally Ze Newbs shares this fun fact about dogs, from one of of my frequent posts about dogs:
canine has biggest % range in body mass of any species. you're welcome.


And there we are. Thanks to y'all for reading and sharing feedback. I appreciate it.
I had better go watch Game of Thrones get some work done. 

04 April 2014

The Best Ever Hangs It Up: Letterman Announces Retirement (Next Year Some Time)

Many people will say that Carson was the best ever. But Carson didn't have any competition, and he didn't have to go through a mid-career re-invention like Letterman did. He was great, but for my money Dave was the best.

In related news, where the hell can I get this shirt? I will pay good green American money, in quantity. Why is he wearing it? Letterman went to Ball State. No idea whence came this fantastic photo or this superb jersey. That guy rules.

Cats are the Best

We love both Cats and Dogs in this space. Business Cat is all business. You've earned it!

03 April 2014

Magic and Dogs - Give Pups a Hug!

This is more sleight of hand and dogs than 'magic' and dogs but it's interesting to see how the dogs react. Dogs are born with an innate ability to understand gestures (especially pointing with your hand or arm) and they use your gaze to infer information and determine their course of action.*

If you are training a dog you shouldn't wear sunglasses because they obscure your face, and dogs use that information to make decisions. (It would be like taking a quiz with frustratingly vague questions.) You can see the behavior clearly here: Treat disappears and the dog looks at the magician / 'mentalist' for a hint. Then a lot of other interesting stuff happens, depending on the dog. Those say as much about the dogs temperament and the owner as they do about the dogs themselves.

* They tested this in the lab and animals you would expect to understand a gaze and gesture, such as chimpanzees, had no idea that the information was relevant. Untrained dogs knew. Evolution is awesome.  

31 March 2014

The Cake is a Lie: Pay the Players

The NCAA D-1 Men's Basketball Tournament happens every year around this time. It coincides with much hand-wringing about how much money the NCAA - a not-for-profit organization - makes (billions of dollars, which is quite a lot) and how much money the players make (zero dollars, which is quite a lot less).

I'm not here to wring my hands; I'm here to Marcus Small double-bird the NCAA in general and the NCAA amateurism rules in particular.

The NCAA is a sham, amateur athletics is a sham, and anyone that defends the archaic notion that these players who work for free should continue to do so because something-something-education and the good of the game and whatever else is talking nonsense. Brian Philips lays it all out in greater detail, but I have been working on a post about it too and I'm not one to let good(?) words go to waste.

The NCAA amateurism rules are about control. Yes the players get a scholarship. That's a useful piece of compensation (for some), even if it is a joke when compared to the amount of value the NCAA and the school get out of the player. Still: they get an opportunity to get an education. Which is valuable, if you're in school to get an education. And it would make sense if the players were treated like regular students. Except athletes in 'revenue' sports (football, basketball) are generally not in school to get an education, they are in school to get some miserably low-wage / high-risk on the job training in the NBA and NFL's de facto minor leagues. And they are not treated like regular students (this was the crux of the ruling from the NLRB).

It's a great system from the NCAA's perspective: they do the work while YOU get paid. Then you say you cannot pay them because: education(?). I dunno. One of the things I learned in school is that you should get paid for your work. I guess that rules are different when you start collecting truly astronomical sums of money

All of which would be tolerable if the players had an opportunity to capitalize on their marketable skills in their private lives, away from the court or field. But they cannot, because: NCAA amateurism rules. Players do not own the rights to their own name or image. They cannot sell their autograph, cannot get paid to participate in events, cannot make money on endorsements, cannot get paid in any way. The only right a player owns is the decision to play or transfer. (Don't get me started on how unfair the transfer rules are.)

Meanwhile, everyone else makes money hand over fist: the NCAA, the school, the administrators, the head coaches, the TV networks, the apparel companies, the shoe companies, the companies that advertise at the event, the venue owners, the licensed merchandise vendors, the unlicensed merchandise vendors, the guy selling parking spots around the way, the scalpers, etc. The list of people cashing checks on behalf of these young men is absurd.

If you're a good player at a big-time school then you have the Midas touch: literally everything you come into contact with makes people money. Except you. You work for peanuts. Your options are limited, and once you commit yourself to the machine you can have your right to work revoked at any time because wanting to get some of that cheese while you're still in college is a character issue. Or something. I don't even know. And don't dare smoke any weed, either. That would be breaking the rules and grounds for immediate suspension. No kid that smoked weed in college ever amounted to anything. Except for that one guy. Whatever. He wasn't athlete. No athlete every smoked wee- what's that? Oh. I shouldn't have brought it up.

This morally wrong and unjust system is perpetuated because the fat cats with the money don't want to share it. If you're cool with that, keep filling out March Madness(TM) brackets and enjoying the games. We all draw the line somewhere - most of us are not at all fussed about the working conditions in the plant where our cellphones are assembled. But if you think that employees should be paid commensurate with their value instead of being exploited by artificial, collusive wage restrictions then, well, maybe the Final Four isn't for you.

Easter Snow

Friend Lindsay says that she is tired of winter. It's 65 and sunny where I live. I said what's the big deal? She sent the photo at right. Yikes.

30 March 2014

Everyone Was Young Once

Me on the Left
Sometimes I forget how old I am because I don't have kids and I'm not married and I still play Titanfall Battlefield as much as I like. And then one of my married friends with kids sends me a reminder. Like this one from Big Cheese (pictured, R). Thanks. I guess.

Sweet Katie took that actual picture a lifetime ago on an actual camera with film that had to be developed by businesses that existed for that very purpose. They're all gone now, like record stores.

Special bonus shout out to the Sunnyvale State University t-shirt, which I borrowed from my cousin and subsequently wore on the regular until it disintegrated. He wasn't happy about that. Turns out it was a somewhat unique item. Not least because there is no such thing as Sunnyvale State University. They sold them at an orchard for a while, but I think that's all paved over now. I could not find one online in my quick search. Even the string "sunnyvale state university" only returned a few results. Like I said: old.

24 March 2014

Fully Committed: Future Islands on Letterman

This is some straight up white people music, although the vocal may remind you of John Newman singing with Rudimental. (Also white people music.)

The performance, it is something. Dude just goes for it. It is so unabashed, so over the top, so completely and utterly IDGAF, so earnest, that it pierces David Letterman's adamantium-grade cynicism and turns him into an actual fan. That takes some doing. Game recognizes game, as it were.

Keep in mind it's about 3 in the afternoon, cold room, crowd of bullshit tourists that waited in line to see Letterman. Basically the worst possible situation for a show, unless you're playing at 9 AM to nobody at a festival. Guy doesn't care. He brings it 100%. Respect.

Not surprisingly, the studio version of the song is really good. If you're into that sort of thing. Which, like Dave says: I'll take all of that you got.

Beaker Is the Best

They never saw it coming.

23 March 2014

Run Like the Wind

Big Cheese sent me this. I liked it.
Puppy loves to run! I like the part where she gets to the bottom and waits for him, then takes off like a shot. So great.

21 March 2014

Kisses Whether You Like It or Not

This is me trying to get Brutus to look at the camera without him concussing me with a headbutt when he turns to look at my face. He's not the easiest dog to photograph. Too busy being awesome. Why hold still when you can move? There might be treats!

To be fair it's confusing when one person is telling you to hold still and another person is telling you to look. If the dog isn't familiar with different commands then that is not his fault. He is leaning a bit because his right rear leg is bothering him. He tore his ACL because he is too damn bulky and people breed these dogs too large. Again: not his fault. Sucks.

Catching up with this guy and his sister this week so I'll get more pics. You care.

20 March 2014


An alarming number of my friends just had kids. They are very tired and busy now. I bought titanfall so I am very tired and busy too. Same thing, pretty much. Except for the part where I can sell titanfall back in a few months when I'm bored with it. Advantage: titanfall.

19 March 2014

Sports Analytics

Is That a Cat?
Big data definitely predicted this.

18 March 2014

13 March 2014

Throwback Thursday: Doves - Pounding

This song comes from a record that went straight to number 1 in the UK in 2002. It peaked at 83 on the Billboard charts that same year in the the US. (The number one song in the US that year was Nickelback. Those guys sold a lot of records like Budweiser sells a lot of beer. Don't care if you like it, you have to respect it.)

You can't find the video or even a rip of the song on youtube (plenty of live bootlegs, though), which doesn't make much sense considering you can find the song online for free in about 3 minutes. (You can find almost any song for free in 3 minutes.) Whatever. The video is dated but the song is great. Enjoy.

Doves - Pounding from Chris Sayer on Vimeo.