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Archive: December 30, 2008

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the elderly Duck

Tuesday,  12/30/08  10:49 PM

elderly duckTonight I had a wonderful experience with an elderly Duck. 

I'd done a nice ride from Dana Point down the shore to Camp Pendleton and back (40 miles, featuring a spooky passage along San Onofre beach in fog, as it was getting dark), changed, and settled into the bar of the Charthouse overlooking the harbor for a nice filet.  Next to me were an older couple in their 70s, also having dinner in the bar; we were surrounded by the usual "young people" drinking and/or waiting to have dinner in the restaurant.  The Holiday Bowl was playing on a large flat panel behind the bar, and while enjoying a salad and a glass of Pinot I began to take a casual interest in the game, a match between Oregon (go Pac 10!) and Oklahoma State.

From their remarks to each other I became aware that the older couple were fans, closely watching the game, and we struck up a conversation.  Turns out the gentleman was an Oregon alumnus and played linebacker for the Ducks in the early 1950s.  (I must admit he still looked a little like a linebacker, bowed and gray but large and solid :)  His wife was from Washington, also a football fan, and upon discovering the game on TV in the bar they decided to have their dinner there so they could watch the game.

Oregon scores!It was a fantastic game, back and forth, with a lot of great running, and my enjoyment was greatly enhanced by the gruff and insightful remarks made by the elderly Duck.  At one point in the fourth quarter, with Oregon trailing but driving, he said "we need misdirection", and sure enough on the next play Jeremiah Masoli, the Duck QB, faked left and ran right, sweeping around end to score.  "The 'backers were overpursuing" my Duck friend remarked.  Later as the Cowboys mounted a comeback, he noted "they better stay away from the middle"; on the next play they threw deep, over the middle...  and were intercepted.  Oregon prevailed 42-31, and my companions made their exit, clearly satisfied, and we exchanged pleasant wishes for the New Year.  I celebrated with an enormous mud pie :)


Tuesday,  12/30/08  11:11 PM

balloon stack!Well I had a nice day; drove down to Vista to check on the troops, successfully implemented a balloon stack of a colleague's office, and reviewed Aperio's Q4 results which are gratifying, especially in view of the stiff economic headwinds.  Finished off with a nice ride and had a wonderful experience with an elderly Duck.

It's football watching season, which means eating, which means riding if I don't want to turn into a balloon myself.  Fortunately the weather is wonderful.  And riding is the perfect complement to my other pastime in the final days of the day, reflection...  I love Southern California!

...and so as 2008 winds down, we find...

twin twinsCheck out these twin sets of twins.  Born seven years apart to a white mother and black father, each set features a "black" and "white" twin.  Remarkable.  If that doesn't blow up your perceptions of race, what would?

Jeff Atwood has a simple question: "You met someone who told you they had two children, and one of them is a girl. What are the odds that person has a boy and a girl?"  This is a great variation on the Monty Hall three-door problem.

oystersThe year-end issue of the Economist has a great article on oysters.  Did you know that in addition to being great to eat, they clean the water?  "A single oyster can filter about 50 gallons of water per day."  Who knew?

chilisAnd in the same issue, an article entitled Global Warming, about how the world has taken to eating chilis.  "In the same way as young people may come to like alcohol, tobacco and coffee (all of which initially taste nasty, but deliver a pleasurable chemical kick), chili-eating normally starts off as a social habit, bolstered by 'benign masochism': doing something painful and seemingly dangerous, in the knowledge that it won’t do any permanent harm. The adrenalin kick plus the natural opiates form an unbeatable combination for thrill-seekers."  Whew.  Pass the chili, please!

racing a DN iceboatEnjoy sailing but find that it is a bit cold in your parts?  Well then, how about some iceboat racing?  Sailing Anarchy has a nice post about DN sailing, including a pretty compelling video...  this is something I've always wanted to try.  Unfortunately opportunities for doing so in the Los Angeles area are a bit limited :)

Joel Spolsky chest beats about Fog Creek's new office.  I like Joel, but I wish he would drop the "holier than thou" attitude, like Fog Creek are the only ones who have figured out how to build software...

Martians!From BoingBoing: Ray Bradbury on Mars.  "The interviewer said, 'Mr. Bradbury, how do you feel about this landing? Where are the Martian cities and where are all the living beings?'  'Don't be a fool,' I said. 'WE are the Martians! We're going to be here for the next million years. At long last, WE ARE MARTIANS!' That was the end of the interview."  I love it!

John Gruber links The Man Who said No to WalMart, about how "Jim Wier, then the CEO of high-end lawnmower company Snapper, who went to WalMart’s corporate headquarters to inform them that he was pulling Snapper’s entire product line from WalMart.  He concluded - correctly, it seems - that it was incompatible with Snapper’s high-quality strategy to sell their products in a store where the only important factor is price."  This is the insidious thing about the WalMart's of the world; they commoditize everything, even when there is distinct differentiation.

Energy Ball personal wind turbineFinally, check out Inhabitat's top ten "green design" stories of 2008.  The great thing is that they are unranked; you get to vote.  I voted for the Energy Ball personal wind turbine, pictured at right...


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Texas chili cookoff
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world population map
no joy in Baker
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introducing eyesFinder
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where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained