Tuesday, August 14, 2018

I'm in the Healing Business and Business is Good

"Well, I see a break on this x-ray from last week," said the hand surgeon. "But this new x-ray looks excellent. I think you can take the splint off and resume activity, based on pain level. How's your pain threshold?"

"High," I said.

And so a 4-8 week recovery turns into a 6-day recovery. That is very, very solid.

I'm going to keep doing a few things, like hitting golf balls with one hand, because I think it can really improve my regular swing, but other than that, it's back to normal.

I can also type again without that stupid splint, which was driving me crazy.

It's too bad that there will still be a delay in the Head-to-Head Olympics, because Eli 17.0 has senior retreat this weekend and goalie camp next week, but the flag came in yesterday and looks outstanding.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Seems Like the Only Thing To Do

I'm leaning into this nine-fingered situation as hard as I can.

We hit range balls today. I hit about 60 balls with my left hand, along with some chipping. It's hard, as you would expect, and I had to tee the ball up on everything but chips.

"You hit a better wedge with one hand than I do with two," Eli 17.0 said. I didn't, but with a full swing, when I did it right, I could still hit my wedge about 60 yards. And I even hit a few drivers 130+ yards.

I fouled up quite a few--it's hard to have any clubhead control with one hand--but it was still fun, and it was better than sitting in the house missing the stuff I can't do.

We came back and played table tennis, and Eli played with his left hand, too. So every time he hit a topspin forehand, he was making a glove save. Heh.

I should be back to almost normal posting tomorrow.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday Links (Broken Finger Edition)

For this week only, abbreviated format, so I can just cut and paste instead of typing.

C. Lee:
The $3 Billion Plan to Turn Hoover Dam Into a Giant Battery
Keep Your Left Shoe Next to Your Baby's Car Seat
Why Island Birds Have Bigger Brains Than Their Mainland Counterparts

Wally:
The Defeat of Egypt
Voting Software
Garibaldi’s Panoramic Exploits

Meg:
Why Your Dog Freaks Out During Thunderstorms—And What to Do

Eric Higgins-Freese:
How feng shui shaped Hong Kong's skyline
How Rice students turned Willy's statue

Chris Meadowcraft:
A beautiful pedestrian bridge in Vietnam

Steven Davis:
Explaining Exquisite Corpse, the Surrealist Drawing Game That Just Won’t Die
Realistic Graphics via Voxel Cone Tracing

J. R. Parnell:
7 Lessons ‘Sea of Thieves’ Can Teach Us About Great VR Game Design

Thursday, August 09, 2018

And Here's the Problem With Every-Time Verification



Thanks, EA, really appreciate my license being invalid for a game I downloaded through your store and launched using your launcher application. Kudos!

Olympics, Delayed

We sat in silence in the emergency room for a few minutes.

"Victimized," I said. Gloria burst out laughing.

I was referring to this:


That's what your finger looks like after your boy's girlfriend accidentally slams her car door on your finger while you're pumping up her nearly flat tire.

So the Head-to-Head Olympics will be delayed 4-8 weeks while a broken finger heels, along with a deep cut that bled for a long time. 

The worst part? The way this worked out, and where my finger was positioned, I couldn't open the door myself and had to shout at her to open the door. Which took at least five seconds, because the whole situation made her freeze. 

It was a long five seconds.

Eli 17.0, as usual, had the right thing to say. "Don't worry about the Olympics," he said. "Just more time to build up the hype."

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

It's On

"Here's the proposed list of events," I said. "Tennis. Mini-golf. Pickeball. Table Tennis. Golf. Running--400 meters. Basketball--horse. Bowling. Darts. Paper football. Baseball--batting. Did I miss anything?"

"I'm in," Eli said.

"All right, let's move on to scoring."

"This is important," Eli 17.0 said.

"200 points for the event winner, plus a 50 point bonus. The loser gets the percentage of the winner's score out of 200."

"Explain that." he said.

"Let's say you win table tennis 20-10," I said. "You get 200 points for winning, plus a 50 point bonus. I get 100 points, because it's half the 200 base, and I scored half your points."

"Okay, I get it," he said. "That sounds good."

"Events take place over two days, like the decathlon. Winner will be crowned the Head-to-Head Family Olympics Champion."

"There will be a trophy," he said.

"Oh, yes. There will always be a trophy, passed from family member to family member over generations."

What he doesn't know: I have a flag.



Coming on Tuesday (Olympics start on Wednesday). Cost me $12, plus shipping. Boom.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Runaway

Clearly, this is fertile soil for metaphors, but this post is 100% metaphor free. Starting now.

We were on our way to Eastern Pennsylvania, about twenty minutes from our hotel. I saw a sign at the edge of the road.

"Wait, what did that say?" I asked.

"Runaway something," Eli 16.11 said.

It was a sign just like this:


This particular section of Eastern Pennsylvania had some very steep road grades, and in particular, a long stretch of curving, steep sections. We saw at least half a dozen of these on our way into town.

We'd never seen one before, and it's particularly scary to think about trucks needing to use this as a bailout. That ramp is incredibly steep, and it's also sand, just to slow down a vehicle even more. 

The ramp in the picture is a gravity arrest ramp. There are multiple types, and here's a good explanation: Runaway Truck Ramp.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Innovation

Gloria went to a Farmer's Market on Saturday and bought some fresh fruit. I pulled some out of the refrigerator on Sunday.

"These blueberries are a little soggy," I said.

"Yeah, after I washed them I tried to dry them as well as I could," she said, "but it's hard to get all the water out."

"There has to be a way," I said. "What we need--is a fruit fan."

"Okay, before you go any further, I am not putting a 'fruit fan' in the kitchen."

"Are you sure? I think the Lasko Fruit Vortex could definitely be a thing."

Friday, August 03, 2018

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, from Bryan, and it's a staggeringly good read: How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions.

This is an incredible story: Marine Biologist Melissa Cristina Márquez Was Bitten and Dragged by a Crocodile...and Lived to Tell Her Story.

From Marc Klein, and it's really refreshing to see an athlete who genuinely cares about other people: How LeBron James’ new public school really is the first of its kind.

From Wally, and I did not quite belong to this group: Every Parent at Disney.

From Michael M., and this is good motivation for hockey goalies and everyone else: Jocko Motivation "GOOD".

From C. Lee, and this is a fascinating approach: Hunting for fossils in the quirks of language. Yeah, this is going to be a thing (dammit, people): A $225 GPS spoofer can send sat-nav-guided vehicles into oncoming traffic. This seems like an excellent idea: Don’t Throw It Away—Take It to the Repair Cafe. Ah, this explains it: Study: Elderly drivers more easily angered by red stop lights.

More from C. Lee. This seems like a good point, and it's a terrific read: Don't fear robots, fear robotic humans, says Japan's AI auntie. Both of the films they mention are masterpieces: Shinobu Hashimoto obituary: Japanese screenwriter best known for the the film classics Rashomon and Seven Samurai. This seems like the kind of thing people should go to prison for: Tokyo Medical University discriminated against female applicants by lowering entrance exam scores: sources.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

The "Eastern Pennsylvania" Camp

There's a story with this one, but all the stories blend together after a long summer.

Eli 17.0 had has best camp. No ups and downs, all quality performances. Very proud of him. He really looked in control of the ice for all three games.

The goalie coach was very young (maybe mid twenties?), spoke Russian, and called him in after the last game. "Play the puck more" and "you have good control of your body" were his two comments.

Cut.

The good news is that he learned a ton from these camps and has some experience that most other kids in his birth year don't have heading into next summer.

The bad news is that we understand now that just because you get into a camp, it doesn't mean that a team is seriously looking at you, or even looking at you at all. You may just be a camp body to support the number of skaters they invited.

The challenge will be to understand how to get into the seriously considered group, because no goalie is going in blind and making a team. It just isn't going to happen.

A few notes on where we were. A Harvard University study found this area to be the most unhappy in the country, as well as having one of the highest heroin fatality rates and general rates of addiction. We found it to be very, very bleak.


This was an excellent picture taken at the rink. The team was heading into the playoffs last year, and a grade school made a good luck poster. Parker was too lazy to write. Come on, Parker, get it together!


At the strangest little Barnes and Nobles I've ever seen, an escalator into the underworld. 


It wasn't running at the time, but then I guess it's only active when they need to harvest souls.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Madden 19 (PC)

I joined Origin Access Premier earlier this week for $99.99 for the year. Having access to all of EA's PC titles on release for just north of $8 a month is a compelling deal, and with Madden on the PC this year, it was too much to pass up.

Bonus: I'm playing Madden six days before the official release because of my subscription. That's a win.

Madden was on the PC platform back during the zeppelin era, then had a multi-decade absence for no apparent reason. It's back this year, though, which shocked just about everyone.

I've played for about an hour.

First off, holy cow this looks amazing. With a 1080ti, I've got every setting maxed out and it's running at a steady 60FPS at 2560x1440. Stunning.

Plus, some of the details that Madden often neglects seem solid this year. In particular, player speed (set at "normal") is very impressive. With only minor tinkering, players are running at the speed they run in real life. Yes, that's the first thing I do, and yes, I'm insane.

I'm not going to say there aren't some odd Madden annoyances here, because that's a given, but for once, I'm impressed.

It's only been an hour. Don't count your chickens.

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