Saturday, December 29, 2007

In case you haven't heard...

Last Friday, I asked Danielle to marry me. It was an easy decision, and I couldn't be happier with the result.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Overheard in the kitchen

Me: Why is there a plate of melted butter in the toaster oven?
Danielle: So the cat doesn't lick it up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Merriam-Webster = n00bs

Their word of the year: w00t.
This is dumb, tacky, and outdated. I got my "w00t" shirt in 2002 and only wore it a few times for the same reason, and that was 5 years ago. What's next year's word going to be? "The web?" "Cyber?"

To make it more frustrating, the article misunderstands and misuses the word from the very beginning. It capitalizes the W as if to suggest l33tspeak should follow some grammatical guidelines. It also uses the phrase "expect them to 'w00t.'" Unless I have fallen drastically behind the times, w00t is not acceptable -- at least, certainly not sincerely -- as a verb.

Reminds me of this xkcd.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

TF2 stats

Valve released TF2 gameplay stats and they are fascinating. Here are my observations.

  • The medic's bonesaw is the most likely to get a critical hit.
  • The RL deals the most damage.
  • The scout is the cap leader, which is by design, but I was surprised the pyro is second.
  • The Soldier and Heavy cap at the same rate. This suggests sheer firepower is just as important as speed.
  • The Demoman has no moments of glory. If they included statistics on defending capture points, I bet the Demoman would be at or near the top. Statistically it may be a routine pipe bomb kill, but it's a very important one.
  • My 3 favorite classes (Engineer, Demoman, and Medic) have the 3 fewest points per hour.

  • Hydro games take 95 minutes!
  • 4 times as many games are played on Gravelpit as on Granary.
  • Winning dustbowl on offense is hard, but 71-29% in favor of defense is incredibly lopsided.
  • Blue wins 2fort 52% to 33%. This makes no sense since the sides are identical. Do good players feel more comfortable in the cold industrial blue environment? Does the rural feel of red suggest inefficient construction? I don't get this at all.

Death maps:
  • The 2fort barracks are too big of a bottleneck. Incoming offenses have to deal with attacks from four directions (sniper loft, ramp exit, upper spawn, and ramp room) if they do make it in the clear.
  • ...Maybe. That map does not distinguish between upper and lower levels. Could it be that everyone just goes to the right after they cross the bridge?
  • People die more often inside the first Dustbowl red team spawn than on 3 of the capture points. Blue is seeking out and destroying the cowering defense.
  • The second to last capture point in Dustbowl is rarely contested.
  • Capturing A in Gravelpit is too easy. People are surrendering it in order to fortify B. This is poor strategy. It is easy to defend both, and while B may not be as well-defended, defending both buys precious time. I hate when defenses abandon A completely, or give up immediately once blue gets two people there. This is not necessary.

  • Eliminate the 60-second setup between rounds of Dustbowl. Maybe make it 10-15 so at least they can run into position.
  • People are playing engineer and scout 3 times as much as medic. Create more incentive for more medics. Maybe increase the syringe gun damage since it's weak and ineffective. Medic is not a glamorous job but it's too important to be ignored.

I wonder if/how people's strategies will be affected with this knowledge? Probably not much on the public servers considering the level of ability displayed there, but hopefully more serious players read up on this stuff.

Friday, December 07, 2007



That's 81 points, if you're keeping score, thanks to the double letter score on the Z. Pox and axe were also mine. The lower right corner of the board came through in the clutch, and balanced out exclusively having consonants for the first three turns.
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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dale Newman sued by DTE

Oh happy day! I did a little searching to find out what Dale Newman was up to, and struck gold. DTE is taking the landlord to court for his fraudulent hackery! Ann Arbor News:

DTE suing landlord, saying utilities stolen

Meter tampering, nonpayment among accusations
Thursday, October 11, 2007
DTE has filed a lawsuit accusing Ann Arbor landlord Dale Newman of energy theft and non-payment and seeks a little more than $500,000 in damages, according to court documents.

$500,000 is triple what he actually owes, which is still an astounding amount:
It alleges Newman has been underbilled or failed to pay $36,736 in electrical bills and $111,011 in gas bills. DTE also stated its investigation cost $25,000 and wanted Newman to reimburse it for that bill.

DTE is asking for three times the amount of actual damages, which it says is $172,748 plus costs and reasonable attorney fees.

But wait! There's more! Dale Newman also faces pressure from the city to tear down the dilapidated Michigan Inn:
For the better part of two decades the Michigan Inn has been a vacant eyesore on Jackson Road, leaving many to wonder how a multimillion-dollar piece of property could sit undeveloped for so long in a town like Ann Arbor.

Instead of attracting developers, the property has been a magnet for squatters and a headache for the Ann Arbor Police Department.

Its owner, 68-year-old Dale Newman, is a real estate broker who's mired in lawsuits, unpaid bills and convoluted business agreements with partners and creditors who say they are fed up.

Dale Newman and his wife and business partner Christine Dong engaged in these and other illegal business practices while we were tenants of theirs. Click the "Dale Newman" post label to read more about their past offenses.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Jingle Bells vs. Technology

When I was in the elementary school smart-kid program, we were presented with a daunting task on one of our weekly assignments. We were told to calculate how fast the horse was going in Jingle Bells. This was explained to us as the Holy Grail of this program's assessment, with the warning that only a handful of students had ever successfully figured it out.

Sadly, such problems are no match for technology anymore.

For reference, here was the thought process in 1994, as a ten year old would see it:

1. How would you know that? Maybe there are other verses that explain it. But we'd have to go to the library to find out.

2. Get mom to drive you to the library. She can take you on Saturday, so you wait until then.

3. Once there, you ponder whether to go into the safety and comfort of the children's section or wander into uncharted waters (for me at least) in the adult area.

4. Ask the librarian to help you search through the card catalog for Christmas songs' music and lyrics.

5. A few books don't have it and you start to get discouraged. After a few more tries, you find a book that contains Christmas songs, and search for Jingle Bells.

6. Read through all the verses to find some reference to speed or time. There it is, in verse four! "Two forty as his speed!"

7. Now decipher the language. What does "two forty" even mean? Surely a horse can't go 240 miles per hour. This must be an old-timey phrase. 240 furlongs per fortnight?

8. Now you have to research horses. You eventually learn that horse racers refer to their horse's speed in terms of time per mile.

9. 2:40 per mile now has to be converted to miles per hour. 2:40 = 2 2/3 minutes,so (60 minutes/hr) / (2.667 minutes/mile)= 22.5 miles per hour.

10. Call mom to come pick you up.

This is as difficult as it will ever be now:

1. A Google search for "verses of jingle bells" takes you to the Wikipedia page which has all of them.

2. What about the line "two forty as his speed?" Another Google search refers you to several other people asking these questions, which eventually point to the time per mile.

3. Google's converter eliminates pesky math.

Elapsed time: Less than it takes a speedy bob-tailed bay to run a mile.

And even that method was for the suckers who want to burden themselves with extra work. The truly resourceful kids will simply Google the phrase "how fast is the horse in jingle bells" and find their answer in the seventh result.

But there we were, using our brains, like suckers.