Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The best time to meet your goal...

Give you an example from the diet side. Let's say that you have decided to lose 10 pounds over the next few months. You've picked a diet that works for you and joined the gym. Your plan is to diet daily and work out at least twice a week.

For the first few weeks things go really well and life is good. Your able to hit your diet goals and make it to the gym right on schedule - then real life hits. Work tosses you a curve, and you end up working late to get the project done on time. Of course, its also one of your Gym nights, and its late. You want to go home and forget about work.

Do you go to the Gym?

It's easy to rationalize not going. Your tired, you don't want to, the day was hard and you can go some other day. Although accurate, it's a bad idea to not go, especially when you are starting a new routine. If you skip one day, diet or exercise, why not two? Three?

As you start working out, dieting, or any new goal it is very easy to stop. What we have to realize here is that the most important thing isn't that you get to the Gym or stay on the Diet it's that you establish a new habit. It's that habit that will serve you better than any diet-du-jour or workout-of-the-month. If you do it consistently, whatever it is, you will meet your goals.

That's why the best time to diet, work-out, mow the lawn, etc. is when you don't want to because in doing it when you don't want to you will push yourself to change the habit and do it anyway. Once the habit is ingrained, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

This was SPAM?

The fun thing about my work setup is that viewing spam shows all the things that are normally hidden when you view them in HTML format. This one was in today's spam-folder (formatting left intact);
The English Language. Have you ever wondered why foreigners have trouble with the English Language?. Let's face it. English is a crazy language. There is no egg in the eggplant No ham in the hamburger. And neither pine nor apple in the pineapple. English muffins were not invented in England. French fries were not invented in France. We sometimes take English for granted But if we examine its paradoxes we find that Quicksand takes you down slowly, Boxing rings are square. And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. If writers write, how come fingers don't fing. If the plural of tooth is teeth. Shouldn't the plural of phone booth be phone beeth, If the teacher taught, Why didn't the preacher praught. If a vegetarian eats vegetables. What the does a humanitarian eat? Why do people recite at a play, Yet play at a recital? Park on driveways and Drive on parkways. You have to marvel at the unique lunacy. Of a language where a house can burn up as it burns down. And in which you fill in a form by filling it out. And a bell is only heard once it goes! English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (Which of course isn't a race at all) That is why when the stars are out they are visible, but when the lights are out they are invisible, and why it is that when I wind up my watch it starts, but when I wind up this observation, it ends.

The fun here being that trying to find the origin of this is a muddle. There are many blogs, like mine, who attribute it to Spam, official sites that have no authorship, and random quotes and connections that go nowhere. Closest I found was a larger essay by Richard Lederer, "English is a Crazy Language". Too bad his official site doesn't make mention of it. *shrugs*

Sunday, June 18, 2006

2nd Annual WBCoOP

That's the World Blogger Championship of Online Poker. Doesn't WBCoOP roll off the tongue? Doesnt' matter, this is year two of Pokerstar's blogger game - the first one was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to seeing how I do this year (here's last year hour one and two) . This year there are 2247 players registered (up fron 1471 last year). I placed 360 out of 1471 (top 24% not too bad) I'm hoping to place this year, top 54 win something with 1st place getting a 10k buy-in to the WSOP main event.

Ouch. Didn't make the first hour, my pocket Ks lost to pocket As around 50 minutes in. I ended up in 1653.... a wee bit out of the winnings. :)

That's how it goes.

Saw Cars...

Go see it. The best movie I've seen so far this year. 'nuff said.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Infinite Growth Games...

I've recently caught onto oGame, a game of galactic growth and conquest. At its heart you are a planetary leader rallying your troops to take to the stars and take what you can. Just like the other 15000 players on your server.

The mechanic is very RTS; You product metal, crystal and deuterium and use it to create buildings, defenses, and ships while researching new technologies that will, hopefully, give you an edge or erase someone else's edge against you. It's easy to pick up and anyone could play it. It really feels like a cross between Command and Conquer and Trade Wars. Not a bad distraction.

What gets interesting is the effect it is having on our highly ranked players; they are quitting in droves when they get bored, have their fleets decimated, etc. Why? You spend weeks, or months, building up your fleet only to lose it on an attack or have someone blow you away when your not looking (oh, did I mention the game runs 24x7 even if your not online?).

This is the type of game I refer to as "Infinite Grind", there are a lot of these, some more fun than others, but in the end they all suffer from the same problem; the player has to find things to do as the game offers nothing.

Give you another example from the MMO sphere; EverQuest. When I played you started in your home city and there was nothing for you to do. It was assumed you knew what to do. Great for a veteran, horrible for a new player.

Prefer FPS? Pick one, for the most part they all do this; you get weapons, ammo, armor, and go off to accomplish missions. Quake/Doom/Half-Life all have this effect - you know somewhere, once you have gotten all the weapons in the single player game, you are going to run into the obligatory cut-scene where you get capture/knocked-out/etc. and they strip you of all your weapons so you have to start again.

Why? Because your too powerful and the game needs to balance.

Infinite growth games are hard to balance as everyone grows and grows. In oGame the score to enter the "top 1500" moves up daily. Why? Those players are playing, building, and increasing their scores and increasing the gap between "Able to play" and "Dedicated Target". What fun is it being a target, unless you create a goal to be able to survive.

It's an interesting challenge, how do you create a game where people can build huge fleets and yet allow David to beat Goliath if he uses his head without ticking off Goliath?

No rants?

Last night I watched an episode of the new Celebrity Poker Showdown with its new host Phil Hellmuth. I was expecting a few rants, you know, the normal Phil stuff. Nothing. Nadda. He didn't even raise his voice. He did, calmy, explain why he thought plays were bad or what he would have expected in a given situation... but almost robotically.

What a let down! I was hoping to hear some sparks flying, but no, just a normal guy doing commentary. Perhaps once the hosts gel there will be some of the previous seasons feel to it. Right now, it's just celeb's playing yet more poker with Phil making an occasional comment.

If you've never seen Phil H. without his trademark hat and dark glasses, you have to check this show out. My mental image of him wasn't even close.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Soldiers Prayer

When I am called to serve, Dear Lord,
Wherever war may be,
Give me courage to fight the battles,
My country may ask of me.
Grace me with Your presence,
And know that I love You,
While I fight the enemy,
My country needs me to.

Help me protect my comrades,
As You expect me to,
And keep me in Your loving hands,
While I do what I must do.
I want to do my duty,
And to give the best in me,
To do what I've been called to do,
And protect our liberty.

And if, according to Your will,
I must give up my life,
Please bless with Your protecting hand,
My children and my wife.

© 2003
Fred White

Chief Warrant Officer
U.S. Army (Retired)

Another soldier has died, this one a little closer to home than the last. He gave his life for our country and leaves his wife and children in our care.

Support our Troops.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Who are you again?

I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle — victorious.
- Vince Lombardi
This is the quote that I had imprinted on the back of my RoadId (I got the dogtags). As I started running more I realized I had no id on me and if I did fall during my run I was in trouble if I couldn't speak. So I got the dog tags just in case, thankfully I haven't needed them.

Today was the day I was to push my limits. I have been working toward a five mile run for a few weeks now, following the same schedule I've talked about before. The four mile runs have been leaving me struggling for breath and pushing everything I had out to get to the end. The five mile had me wondering if I could do it, and with the rain delaying the run my doubts had plenty of time to sprout.

Still, I haven't gotten this far in my training by listening to doubts. This morning I got up and did 50 push-ups (47 good ones *laughs*) just to see if I could - another goal I had set for myself. Then I opened up the shades and looked out at the rainy, drizzly landscape. It looked like the run was rained out for day number two.

I lucked out, by run time the world had dried off. It was nicely overcast, around 70, with a nice breeze. Off I went. The first few miles were normal, my usual route. As normal a little winded at the end of the wake up hills in the first two miles. From then on, I was into the new route in areas I didn't know.

Somewhere between mile three and four things got easy. I can't explain it. Second wind? No idea, but it turned into keeping pace, loosening up my shoes (30 years tying my shoes and I'm getting to relearn how to do it right!) so my toes don't go numb and wondering how far I had gone. Due to traffic I ended up changing my route near the end and since I'm not running with a GPS, I had no idea how it was going to affect my distance.

Given how well I was feeling I decided that I'd do one of my old one mile routes just to be sure I hit five miles. Turns out I not only hit it but passed it. Total for the run, around 6.2 miles.

Once again I sit here looking at the goal passing and wondering why I don't want any of the things I promised myself for accomplishing it(this time I was figuring steak and cheese with a 'Dew) and instead being proud of myself for another goal come and gone.

Not sure I'm used to acting like a "grown up" yet. Maybe that's the trick to it. *smiles*

Friday, June 02, 2006

Is a 20 foot longer walk that hard?

My eldest asked me to meet her for lunch at her Kindergarten. I've done this before, swing in, sign up as a guest, wait in line feeling like Guliver. It's a fun time. She loves it and her classmates know me well enough to ask questions and be silly.

As usual I left myself enough time to play car tag in the parking lot. The entrance to the school is not much bigger than one lane and if anyone is leaving as your going in, it can be interesting. After the normal "lets see who knows the boundaries of their car best" games we were heading in to park. We rounded the corner and she stopped.

I couldn't figure this move out. I could see at least 5 open spots that were just a "pull straight in" in front of us. The driver in front of me was pausing as if contemplating the harder turn into the slots that are next to the school. Sure enough, she was and she pulled into the handicapped spot.
Given the diversity of students at the school, I didn't give this much thought. There are plenty of students who have hadicapped plates and placards. I pulled into one of the easy spots I had seen. As I got out I noticed she didn't have a handicapped plate. Not a big deal, since her car was parked adjacent to the ramp leading in, I scanned it for a placard. Didn't have one.

Okay, perhaps she forgot. So as we all walked in I remarked to her that she forgot to put it out. I got the "I'm just dropping off quickly and I took the spot and it wont hurt anyone" look with the "Uh. I'm just dropping my child off." excuse.

Sorry, would the 20 foot longer walk and few seconds extra delay in parking, walking, and driving away impact your schedule that much that you should put one of the people that has need of it out into the other spots?

"It's no big deal, can't they walk that far?" Yes, but they shouldn't have too. They have earned the right to that spot due to their own challenges or their children's. You have not.

A lot has been said about the deteriorating morals of our country. Some blame PC games, others TV, the list goes on. In the end, I don't think it is any of those factors; it is things like this. We lead by example, and the example you just showed your child was this; This rule inconvenienced me, so I'm not going to follow it.

Take pride in your children, teach them that it isn't inconvenient - it's the right thing to do.