Happy birthday to my smart, funny, swaggy, fashionable, hip, cool (doo bee dop dop), fresh, fly, crazy, graceful, athletic, wonderful, considerate, helpful, goofy, beautiful, amazing daughter - SOFIA! You will always be our baby.

unnecessary specificity…

Why does Heinz label their bottles of ketchup “TOMATO” ketchup? Is there any other kind of ketchup? I checked a couple of other brands and they all have “TOMATO” on the labels. Hasn’t ketchup been around long enough that we all know it’s made from tomatoes? I could understand if it were like jelly, but it’s not like there are other flavors of ketchup or anything. Weird.

just curious…

When did women start going to the bathroom together? I checked with my 72 year old mom and she said that she and her friends used to do it when they were young so it’s been going on since the early 50’s at least. I wonder if this came about after the development of public restrooms. I checked google but most of the results are concerned with why they go to the restroom together and not when.

is it ironic when…

… someone on Facebook, commenting on their idiotic political beliefs, misspells the word genius as “genious”?

whatever happened to the spitball?

Cool article on tracing the disappearance of the once common spitball. It seems the rise of HD and instant replay, combined with the development of the split finger fastball, have doomed the spitter to extinction.

on basketball and cognitive limits…

I used to love playing basketball. My favorite part of the game was a well executed pass that led to an easy shot for a teammate. I hated the Lakers and Celtics but loved the way Magic Johnson and Larry Bird played the game. The sense of knowing where everyone is on the floor, predicting where the weaknesses of the defense would be in relation to my teammates positioning and movement… it’s like 3d chess played at high speed. It’s more than predicting the future, more like creating the future and watching it unfold. It’s a huge rush when everything’s going well.

My difficulties lie in processing the information quickly enough to be effective. Over the years I noticed that, while I could run 4 on 4 games without a hitch, 5 on 5 introduced an element of uncertainty I could never quite overcome. I felt perfectly comfortable running the show as a point guard in 4 on 4 games and felt as if I knew exactly where everyone was and how everything fit together throughout the run of play. But things I could orchestrate easily with 3 other guys became tremendously difficult with 4. It seems I could never account for the extra two guys (offense + defense) efficiently. In reading about cognition I know that the average number of things most people can keep in short term memory is 6 or 7. I wonder what the limit is for spatial reasoning? How many moving objects can people track reliably before the patterns become too complex? I’d bet that athletes in team sports would be higher than average and that the primary facilitators in each sport (football/qb, basketball/point guard, offensive midfielder/soccer, and playmakers in hockey) would be higher still.

learning the violin

I’m learning how to play the violin and the results thus far are less than encouraging, bordering on abysmal. The toughest parts are:

» Controlling the bow. The stupid thing floats all over the place. It’s been difficult to keep the bow in contact with the sweet spot of the strings and maintain an even pressure.

» Fingering the notes. I’m a guitar player and playing without frets is a major obstacle for me. Plus, the fingerboard is really small - at least compared to a guitar.

» Reading music. I can read music. I can play an instrument. I can’t do both at the same time. So basically my learning process is; read music, play it on the guitar, transpose to violin, and pray for the best.

Even though it’s been a challenge, it feels good to branch out a little bit.

kids today…

Random thoughts after going to school for the past 12 years with classmates who are literally young enough to be my children.

» Guys are really into Call of Duty
» (almost) Everyone loves hip-hop - especially suburban kids
» Tattoos are everywhere
» Same for piercings
» Old guys (like me) are invisible for the most part, except when test time rolls around.
» Fantasy football is HUGE
» No one uses cell phones to talk.
» Professors are mostly sympathetic to kids who need additional help

DONE (thanks sweetie)!

I’ve just finished my degree requirements for my bachelors in computer science. It took me 12 years but I’m finally done and I would never have finished without my wife’s help. She took care of the kids, helped with their homework, made breakfasts/lunches/dinners, gave me a push when I needed one, managed the kids school functions, taxied everyone everywhere, and handled a million other things without ever complaining and always with a smile on her face. She’s a great wife and mother and I’m lucky to be married to her.

just as I suspected…

Awesome engineering flowchart on 37 signals today.