Monday, January 31, 2011

It's got to be the pants

Looking at the scale reading I made every Monday, Thursday, at work and Saturday at Weight Watchers, I noticed some irregularities:

The Monday and Thursday weights were with shoes and work shirt (about 2.5lb total)about 5:30 AM. The Saturday readings were made between 9 and 10 AM without shoes but after eating breakfast though the time on two of the tapes stated almost 11AM because one of their three older computers was set to the Indiana time zone which until a few years ago meant that the clock never went forwards or backwards an hour. (I changed it to Central time and let someone there know so it should now be fixed.)

I did get on the scale at the same time of day so it would accurately reflect my situation but realized one of my pants was heavier than the others since it was flannel lined for winter weather and that could have created the one week unchanged situation from which after wearing regular jeans on the 31st, showed a 3lb loss in a week.

Though I consider my memory exceptional, I do not know if I was wearing my heavy pair of pants on the 3rd but the 5 lb loss in three days could have been assisted by what pair of pants I wore those days.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Math and playoff probabilities

I have not been asked what are the mathematical changes of the Bears and Packers playing for the NFC Championship though I would be asked that if they both win this weekend which they did.

In a 16 team conference the odds of any two teams meeting for a title would generally be close to 2/16 * 1/15 or 120-1 and it would be that simple if the NFL playoffs were like the NBA or NHL. However, the NFL playoff format changes things:

Note: All calculations are based on true math odds and not home field advantage or team history.

Four division champions from 4 team divisions make the playoffs plus 2 wild card teams which have the best record of non division winners. The Bears and Packers both make the playoffs if they both are wild card teams which hapens 1/2 * 2/12 * 1/11 or 1 out of 132 times or if one wins the division and one is a wild card team 1/2 * 1/6 (1 out of 12) or 1 out of 11 years combined which has happened under the current format in 2002 and also this year.

(Note: To make things less complicated than it already is, I am not going to figure in the unlikely scenario of both teams being wild card teams and advancing to the title game since the odds of that are 1/132 * 1/4 * 1/4 or 2,112 to 1. That changes the odds of both teams being in the playoffs to 12 to 1.)

The first round involves the two division champions with the worst records hosting the 2 wild card teams. About half the time (like this year) the NFC North champion does not have to play a wild cadr game so for the other team to advance the odds are1/2 (2 out of 4 possibilities) * 1/2 = 1/4. Then the chances are 1/2 that they don't play each other in the divisional round and 1/4 both winning so 1/4 * 1/2 * 1/4 = 1/32.

About one out of four times both teams play and both advancing is 1/4 (1 out of 4 possibilites) * 1/4 = 1/16 and then both teams winning again is 1/4 so 1/16 * 1/64 = 1/64.

One out of four times they play each other in the first round so one team has to lose. 1/4 (1 out of 4 possibilities) * 0 = 0

So the odds of both teams advancing to the NFC title game is about 1/32 + 1/64 or 3/64.

So the mathematical odds of the Bears and Packers (or any two divisional teams) meeting for the conference title is about 1/12 * 3/64 or 3/768 which is 256 to 1.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A couple of sports notes

I have been asked who I want to win in the football playoffs and I tell them the playoffs ended last month in week 16 after the Misfit Demons who were dominant in October and November came up short when it counted most. Once the person realizes I am talking fantasy football which I care about more than the NFL, the question is changed to cover the next couple of weeks. I then refer to a couple of my former posts which states I only root for the Bears 63 regular season games out of 64 and another one with this chart which I made a couple of years ago about who I root for in playoffs:

So this means I want the Bears to win this weekend but lose to Atlanta in the conference final. I also explain that since the Bears are 4-1 on artificial turf and 7-4 on natural grass, 1-2 their last 3 natural grass games, they would be better off playing in Atlanta rather than hosting Green Bay. Of course this assumes that they will be able to beat Seattle this Sunday. Though they will not play their best, it should still be good enough to beat Seattle.

Now on to something I find disturbing in the NHL. Starting with the 1999-2000 season, the league changed the way they determine regular season points. They started to give a point to teams that lost a game in the five minute overtime period in an effort to encourage more offensive play. When the league resumed play in 2005 after the lockout canceled the 2004-05 season, they added a shootout to ensure that every game had a winner if no team scored in the 5 minute overtime period which was changed to play 4 on 4. Teams that lost in either the five minute overtime or in a shootout would get one point.

This means that no NHL game can end in a tie and that a team's regular season record is stated in a W-L-OTL format where a team gets 2 points for a win and one point for an overtime (or shootout) loss. I have heard way too many people lately (including announcers) who do not include overtime (or shootout) losses in referencing a teams record still thinking that they are ties though no game can end in one. After Sunday's game the Chicago Blackhawks are 23-18-3. Long time announcer Pat Foley, whose broadcasts I have enjoyed for years, incorrectly stated they are 5 games about .500. They have won 23 and lost 21 but got a point for 3 of them. a .500 ball club wins as many games as it loses like the Flyers did last year when they went 41-34-7.

I realize I am being picky and CDO (like OCD but with letters in alphabetical order as they should be).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm not a girl

After a difficult Thursday trying to explain why I can't afford to join a weight loss program which left me hopeless and shaking, I did agree to join Weight Watchers at the coaxing of Carrie under the belief she would not stop getting on my case until I agreed to join. (I also realized that if I don't lose the weight, I will have to pay extra in life insurance costs anyway so this is more an investment to prevent me from spending extra money)

After weiging in at 279.8 lb (without shoes or work shirt), it was time to listen to someone who lost 65 lb 30 years ago and has kept it off since. As expected, nothing I heard today nor anything I read in the materials provided new information about what a person needs to do to improve their weight situation (intake, output, consistency). The thing I found useful was what to do when things failed to work one day or one week as those events were the things that ended my past attempts.

What Weight Watchers has done was provide a point system to make calculations easier for members rather than going by calories or telling people what they must eat. Using their points calculator, I was allowed 54 points per day with 49 extra to use during the week. From using the calculator to check the foods I eat, it comes to 35-45 calories per point depending on the item except for fresh fruits and most vegtables which don't have any points.

I figure with how active I am at work to use the 49 extra on work days and will start every week on Saturday for two reasons. One, if I work the weekend, I can spread out the extra points evenly instead of being stuck with none on the weekend. Two, I can use the extra points for two weeks for conventions so I can use one week's of extra points on Friday and the following week's on Saturday.

What I found confusing was their sticker I got in my new weekly book. It said I have 42 points per day rather than the 54 I got in their calculator. After things were done and I asked someone there, it was determined that my profile was not switched from the female default.

Now I just have to find a way to get the ipod to log in to their app so I can keep the points calculator in the car and use the ipod at home and do what I can to make this program work.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

the 5 easy ones.

After a December which for me as with most people involved more food than normal including one day where I consumed 5,000 calories, the result on the scale this Monday was expected.

If I want to get to the point where I can renew my life insurance without being reclassified as high risk, I need to start to lose weight.

As I did in 2008 2009 (two years ago) I started on Monday to eat what an active 200lb man my age and height does which is about 2,750 calories per day. For the heck of it, when I got to work each morning, I stepped on the scale and this was the result:

This is also what happened in 2009 during the first week of the year. I also then got to the point where no amount of fruits or vegtables will suffice and I had to get a Wendy's double cheese burger. Shortly after that, when the weight loss stopped happening and after Marscon put some pounds back, I got frustrated and stopped eating properly. This year, I need to be smarter about what I am doing.