Saturday, June 24, 2017

Finishing super

Though I now watch the NFL Championship game, everyone else calls it the Super Bowl and there have been 51 played. I discovered on You Tube a video showing the last play of the first 50 Super Bowls and as I do, created a list which I am posting today so it gets out of my head. I might create a pie chart but doing that on a laptop computer is not easy.

QB kneel (or goes to ground): 17 times - Though it is common today for a QB to take a snap and kneel at the end of a game, it did not start to happen regularly until after the 1978 Miracle at the Meadowlands game when the team in front fumbled the QB/RB exchange. Before the rule allowing a QB to kneel without being touched was not established until 1987, the QB would take the snap and fall to the ground. The first one to finish a Super Bowl that way was Mike Rae in SB11.

RB hand off: 10 times - Not surprisingly this happened 4 of the first 8 times all by the winning team and only three times in the last 31 including the game winning run in SB51.

QB sack: 6 times - To my surprise it has not happened in the past 24 games. In SB7, the last play was a 4th down sack and until I saw the replay of the game in 2010, I did not realize that at that time, the clock was restarted after change of possession after a player is tackled in bounds which is not the rule today.

Completed pass: 6 times - Most famously SB34 where a player on a team down 7 points was tackled at the 1 yard line

Incomplete pass: 3 times - Since the game clock stops after an incomplete pass, it is not common. Two of them were done by the team in a "Hail Mary" situation trying for a long pass to win.

Kickoff return: 2 times - One was after a team made a leading FG the play before

Interception: 2 times - One was on a "Hail Mary" play.

Made field goal: 2 times - The 5 second rule for field goals was established after the kick in SB36 took 7 seconds off the clock including the last 2 after the kick went through the uprights.

Missed field goal: 1 time - Scott Norwood's 47 yard attempt off natural grass in SB25 was to me at best a 50/50 chance.

On side kick: 1 time - In SB16, the losing team scored with a couple of seconds left to be down 5. Had they recovered the kick without the other team touching the ball, no time would have elapsed and they would have been able to run one play.

Free kick return - In SB47, the team up by 5 on their own 8 yard line deliberately had the punter run out of the end zone conceding a 2 point safety to avoid getting the punt blocked or returned from a tight punt formation. They had a free kick from their 20 which was run back to the 50 before the player was tackled ending the game.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Applying math to football again

Working at a place that prints sports schedules, I look at them from the point of view of the person who will see them displayed as opposed to the printer. Occasionally I will notice something wrong within the presentation of the schedule that someone focused on print quality would miss.

While looking at one schedule a couple days ago, I realized that the Miami Dolphins will play in Carolina on Monday, November 13th. I did not notice that when the schedule was released by the NFL last month.

What makes it weird is this is the third time in four years that the Dolphins will play on my birthday having hosted Buffalo in 2014 on a Thursday and playing in San Diego last year on a Sunday.

I had to figure the odds of that happening. Since there are four things that need to happen, the probability of each is determined then all four are multiplied to get the result.

Thursday night game in 2014: 16-1: Every team plays once on 16 Thursday night games during the season.

Leap year timing: 2-1: Since the NFL does not play November Friday or Saturday games, there has to be a leap year in the second or third year for a team to play on the same date 3 times in 4 years.

Sunday game in 2016: 4-3: 24 of the 32 teams played on Nov 13 last year. 2 played the Thursday before, 2 the Monday after, and 4 had their bye week.

Monday game in 2017: 16-1: Two teams play on that Monday night.

Doing the math: 682.666 - 1

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Still fat

Having lost over 40 pounds since November 2015, 25 since August 2016, and 15 this year, many have complimented me on how I look. Though I appreciate the compliments, I am nowhere near satisfied.

Today, I realized that in the 3.1 mile stretch on Irving Park Rd between York Road and Prospect Ave along my work commute, where I shop, or where I walk that there are about 35 places where I could walk into, give someone money, and get food to eat right away. Some days it does become difficult to not stop at them but avoiding those places most of the time is the main reason things have improved for me since August.

Over a decade ago, two things happened which I remember like it was last week. At Mount Olympus in the Wisconsin Dells, there is a large water slide which passengers lay forward on a mat. My six year old daughter was just tall enough to ride so we climbed the 3+ stories and she went first. When she was done, she turned around to me and gave a thumbs up which the person at the top of the slide had to confirm for me.

Then I went down. It was more intense than I anticipated and when I stopped at the end of the slide, I looked up and saw the life guard running in my direction giving me a dirty look. As she passed me, I looked behind and realized that I forgot to account for Newton's second law of motion. When I got to the bottom of the slide, I was carrying more momentum than my daughter and went significantly farther and displaced more water. My daughter who was still walking to the end of the slide was knocked down by the force of the wake I created. She was stunned but was ok.

In 2007, at Universal Islands of Adventure, there was a brief shower and when it ended, we were near the entrance for the Hulk roller coaster which was temporarily shut down for the rain when it reopened. I gave my glasses to my mom who agreed to watch my daughter so I can go on one ride during the week I was in Orlando which was not suitable for a 7 year old girl.

After 15 minutes in a line which is normally defined in hours, it was my turn and the person at the ride told me seat three in row 6. I went to that row, saw that the last seat was open and sat there. When I pulled down the restraint, I noticed that it would not lock. When I mentioned it, the person at the ride was upset with me since I did not follow her instructions and after unlocking the entire ride, I switched seats and the harness worked.

After the ride was done, I noticed with my poor, unaided vision blurry letters on a sign, walked up to it and read:

Certain passengers with special situations will be required to sit in the middle two seats in rows 3 and 6.
I then realized that due to my weight/size, I had to sit in a "fat seat".
What I weighed during those two occasions is about what I weigh now.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Reverse parody going full circle

In May 2000, I went to the Elk Grove Village Holiday Inn for a Weird Al fan convention as it was only a few miles from where I lived. There I met a whole bunch of people whose music interests were similar to mine and for the first time in my life, I had people who can call friends as opposed to coworkers, teammates, club mates, or opponents.

The most memorable musical moment performed by other people who did comedy music who were there involved what to me was an original rap song about Star Trek in which each verse covered a different incarnation of the show along with a verse involving the character Q who appeared in different versions done while wearing the appropriate shirt during each verse and rapidly changing outfits during the chorus.

What I did not realize about the Luke Ski song "What's Up Spock" is that it is a parody of a song by a group called the Fu-Schnickens called What's up Doc (can we rock) which is a song I still have never heard.

Once I started listening to the rest of his work and then helping him at conventions I discovered that even though he was born only 8+ years after me (the day after the Miami Dolphins led by MVP Larry Csonka won Super Bowl 8 and haven't won a title since) his taste in music is completely different from mine and it shows in the parodies he has done.

Then I started to hear songs played by others on radio that sounded a lot like songs done by Luke as well as other artists like Devo Spice (and later Insane Ian, Dino Mike, and Weird Al) in which I know the parody but not the version I was hearing. I coined the phrase "reverse parody" to explain the point of view of someone hearing the original song after hearing a parody version first.

Inspired by a person who was not familiar with the Madonna song Vogue upon hearing Luke's most recent song Rogue (about the female characters in Star Wars), I went to and went through all his parodies discovering that if multiple parodies of the same song are discounted, that there are 100 parody tracks which made this chart easier to make.

On June 18th, I will see Luke perform at FuMPFeST at the same hotel I saw him perform when my now 17 year old daughter was an infant. I am not going to count the total number of times I saw him perform but I would guess at is at least 150. With him now storyboarding cartoons for audiences in the thousands (instead of a somewhat disinterested group on Sunday afternoon at a con) and me deciding to focus my time, energy, and money on doing something I can while dealing with physical pain as opposed to watching others do what I can't while I sit uncomfortably in physical pain, it could be the last one.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Thoughts of a still obese man

Current weight/BMI: 259/37
Nov 2015 max weight/BMI: 298/42.6

As an assignment to the weight loss program at work, I was instructed to read a chapter in the manual called the eat-repent-repeat cycle. It referenced concepts including instinctive eating, completely denying foods, and using exercise to justify or punish poor eating.

The last time I checked off so many things that applied to me, I was looking at a picture of a sign that listed things that would condemn people to eternal damnation.

I also came to realize that where I now spend my time doing the thing that inspires me to get off the couch at 5:15AM has impacted my weight.

In the past, one of the things I found comforting about conventions like Windycon near Chicago, Penguicon near Detroit, Gencon in Indianapolis, and mostly Marscon near the Minnesota twin cities is that my obesity, pain, and physical problems were usually less pronounced than many there and I often found myself helping those who were worse off than me.

When playing in disc golf tournaments with people who are younger and physically fit, I am the old man who is always hurting and can rarely finish a tournament without having a physical issue.

Over the past dozen years plus, I have seen changes in many of the people at conventions. Some have passed on partially due to their physical issue while others have been successful in transforming themselves with medical help or even on their own.

One of the benefits of deciding to avoid conventions or even board game days is the food involved. The two I attended in 2016 involved me eating at over 12 different places over four day spans. Board game day is at a restaurant. Going to those places does not work for someone who even though is almost 40lb less than his high point, still has a long way to go.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

On the outside

The Saturday before Marscon, I felt a twinge in my right knee getting out of a low chair. A couple of hours later I developed a noticeable limp and by Monday, I could barely put any weight on the leg.

The orthopedic doctor who saw my x-ray had sobering news. Though there is a sprain, the arthritis flare-up in my knee is a far greater issue. The official x-ray report stated grade III which means significant. For reference, my knee was grade II in 2012 and grade IV is the point where a joint replacement would be possible. This likely means any attempt to get better at disc golf has a limit due to my situation.

Since I was going to be off work due to my medication, I tried to figure out how to get to and stay at Marscon. I had an offer for a ride on Thursday morning but needed to figure out where to stay.

Got a message from someone on Tuesday asking about me driving and after I explained my situation, he stated he was not going. I passively asked a couple other people who stated they had no room either so Thursday happened and I was home.

When the person I would ride with arrived on Thursday, there was somewhere for me to stay but public transportation did not work so I packed clothes on Friday and took off in my car but my leg got numb after an hour behind the wheel and I turned back home. I then also realized I could have ridden with someone on Friday who lives near where I turned around.

On Saturday, the person on Tuesday arrived and stated he had an extra bed in his room as well. My mood went from sad and frustrated to angry since had I known his status, I would be there right now.

To be honest, I should have been more aggressive about finding a roommate by Wednesday to avoid being to the point I am currently at.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The 2017 lineup

Two weeks away from Marscon 2017, I am still unsure if I am going but I am going to rate the events there as I have done for many years anyway as far as my POV.



9:00 pm – CARRIE DAHLBY concert (last seen FuMPFeST 2016) B: It is possible that similar to many of those who have performed for over the last decade that there will be something new. Three years ago her Marscon performance debuted a song that was #5 for the year on the Dr. Demento Show as well as a Logan Awards finalist. I edited the grade from a B- after hearing her concert plan.

9:45 pm – MIKEY MASON concert (Last seen Marscon 2014) A-: Due to timing and circumstances, it has been a while since I saw a full show of his since I was busy helping Luke when he was performing at Gencon.

10:30 pm – MARC WITH A C concert (Never seen) : I have heard his act mentioned numerous times over the years but have never heard any songs that he has done. I know Luke Ski would have not given him a main stage slot unless he felt it was deserving.

11:15 pm – DEVO SPICE concert (Last seen Marscon 2016) B+: Usually this spot features a performer whose content is worthy of a late slot night but there really is none this year.


2:00 pm – POWER SALAD concert (Last seen Marscon 2016) B+: If I don't end up making the trip, I will miss out on the chance of talking with him about our lives and concerns for the world in which we live.

2:30 pm – INSANE IAN concert (Last seen Marscon 2016) B: It is not his fault that my daughter who can't make the trip this year has the ability to appreciate his work more than I do.

3:00 pm – TV’S KYLE featuring LINDZILLA concert (Last seen Marscon 2016) C+: At conventions, his music works best but I am more interested in hearing him talk about the CN show Mighty Magiswords in his Sunday panel as it is his creation.

3:30 pm – THE GREAT LUKE SKI concert (Last seen Marscon 2016) B+: The 2016 music guest of honor as well as the person who created and runs the music track will be performing at Marscon for the 15th straight year as well as talking about Mighty Magiswords.

4:15 pm – LIBRARY BARDS concert (Last seen FuMPFeST 2016) B+: The surprise of last year's FuMPFeST will be making their Marscon debut.

5:00 pm –  Guest Of Honor JUDY TENUTA (Never seen): I have known who she is for years. I have seen clips of her act and well as other things she has done but never her full act on stage.


2:30 pm – THE FUMP JUKEBOX concert C: I am glad this exists.

3:00 pm – DEMENTIA SMACKDOWN concert B-: Musically it is fine but the timing of the event means that things are ending.