Links o’ Interest

99 things you should have seen on the internet already.

Sure to be a 2009 Darwin nominee

Amazing animation: voodoo doll martyr

Firefighter inhales cat

Wow. Robotic chair reassembles itself

Lawyer of class action suit paid in gift cards. Fitting, I hope this catches on.

Another reason I like being Jewish.

Lord of the Rings fan film – exploring a funny plothole.

On presidents day, we must remember George Washington’s greatness.

Funny editorial cartoon

I don’t understand what this train picture is about, but it’s about ten feet.

The past future of advertising

Titanic Fail

Now that’s a poncho ad

Fine art

Another reason to be in first class

Is this really the kind of thing campus police should be on alert for?

How not to fail at life and girls

“All I can think of is Lisa Simpson and fellatio”

Good: double amputee gets prosthetic legs so she can walk. Better: double amputee gets mermaid tail

This is why you’re fat

Fixed it for ya

15 Yearbook photos of US Politicians.

A peculiar want ad

Yo Dawg… this really cracks me up for some reason

Has your credit card been stolen?

Top 10 job seeking tools

The downside of Skype

Slow news day in Raleigh

Correlating music and SAT scores

The growth of Walmart

The formula that killed Wall Street and your 401(k).

New York Time stock is cheaper than the newspaper

Very strong magnets

Insightful commentary on the stimulus bill

Understanding the financial crisis: The two cows version

Police tell boy to lay down in street or get Tasered. He does. He’s run over and killed by a car.

15 companies that might not make it through 2009. Blockbuster, Krispy Kreme,…and Muzak filed for Chapter 11

One more reason to despise Saudi Arabia, the real 9/11 perpetrators.

Incredible. Dust storm footage in Australia

Guess which country, alone in the industrialized world, has not faced a single bank failure, calls for bailouts or government intervention in the financial or mortgage sectors. Yup, it’s Canada.

Poker Update

Some days you play everything right and still lose. That’s how it goes. I had stolen pots, I had limped in and gotten sets, I had made tough folds, I had played tight, I read the odds and the hands, but it didn’t matter.

I was dealt Qd-8d in the big blind, blinds at 150-300. All the blinds called to me, and I limped in. The flop was Ac-7d-4d. I had four to a flush and not much else. The small blind (to my left) raised it to 600. I though the odds were still good (600 into a 1800 pot) and he’s been known to bluff all the way. The turn was Ad. I had my flush. Not only that, it was close to the nut flush. The only thing that could beat me was if he had the Kd and another diamond or hit a another diamond on the river. He put in 1200. I didn’t have to think much before going all-in with my last 2900. I didn’t want to give him a chance to draw for a 5th diamond. He called and turned over a pair of 7s. The dirty rascal had a full house, 7s over Aces. I never even saw of the possibility. Not that it would have mattered, I would have played it the exact same way.

That knocked me down to 550, not even twice the big blind. I went all-in with Ah-Jh. I did not connect, and got knocked out by Mrs. Muttrox.

Yep, the wife came along last night. She played pretty well for someone in their second game. I had trained her how to play tight, and she did. We were comparing notes afterwards. She said she was concentrating so hard that if anyone had bothered to look they would have seen her mouthing “king and a ten” as she tried to figure out her hand and what to do!

Tonight: $-10
Running Total: $709

The Six-year old and Two Awesome People

If you haven’t already, check out the hilarious video resume by Barney Stinson (from how I met your mother). Thanks to a facebook link from Matt, the boy and I watched it again together.

Click here. Pay special attention to the closing shot. When the last note dies away and Barney stand before a waving American flag, the boy turned to me and said, “Is that President Lincoln?” Priceless.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Bah!

One of my favorite Simpsons bits starts off in the board room of a greeting card company.

Manager: Okay, people. We need to cook up a new holiday for the summer. Something with, eh, gifts, cards, assorted gougeables.
Woman: How about something religious? We had great penetration last spring with “Christmas II”!
Man: Ooh, I know, Spendover, like Passover but less talk, more presents!
Manager: No! We need something like… something like “Love Day”, but not so lame.
Cut to the Simpsons living room…
Marge (arms full of cards and presents): Happy Love Day everyone!
Lisa: Mom, you know that was just something made up by the card companies, there’s no such thing.
Marge: Lisa, don’t you ruin another Love Day for this family!
Homer opens his gift on the coffee table. It’s a talking toy bear with an annoyingly sweet mechanical voice, dressed in a knight’s clothing.
Bear: I’m Sir Loves-A-Lot! The bear who loves to love.
Homer: They didn’t have Lord Huggington?
Marge: It’s the same basic bear, Homey.
Homer: [dejected] I guess.

In the real world, I pass this on my way to work every day.

Seriously, get a grip folks. “I love you?” You love every single person who drives past your house on our busy street? You do, a giant plastic inanimate bear? Don’t you think that’s a little ridiculous? You don’t have to drop a couple c-notes on a large inflatable bear to spread your generic message of saccharine love. We’d get by just fine without it.

Poker Update

3 big hands:

On one of the very first hands of the night I have K-Q spades. I raise. I’m re-raised, I call. Flop is As-x-x. He puts in another huge bet (we’re at 25-50, he puts in 500). I sorta say what the hell and call him. The turn is another spade. He bets another 500. At this point I have to call. The river is another spade. My nut flush doubles me up. Terrible playing, I just got lucky.

I’m the big blind with 4-6. There are 5 limpers. I check the option, then check in the dark. The flop is 4-6-x. Two pair, heh heh. The turn is a 9, I bet heavy. At the river, I am put all-in. I call and win with my little 2 pair. If no one raises the big blind that’s what can happen.

I have J-10 clubs. I raise preflop and get one caller. The flop is 10-x-x and two of them are clubs. He puts in 1000. I semi-bluff, raising him another 2000. I hope he folds but I have top pair if he calls. He calls. Not surprising as I’d been bullying him all night – he had had enough. After the turn we end up all-in. I have J-10, he has 10-9. I double up again.

There were probably other big hands, but I don’t remember them. I made my share of mistakes but I had enough of a lead to get away with it. I stole lots of blinds, took a big pot with an all-in 7-2 (for the sheer hell of it), and generally had a good time playing lots of pots. The big stack saw me through to heads up. It was a great long heads up session. Both of us had very short stacks at least twice and played our way back. I caught trip Queens twice. That helped a lot! I don’t even remember the final hand. But it went my way, I remember that part!

Tonight: $74
Running Total: $719

25 Random Things About Me

(slightly edited from the version I posted on Facebook)

1. I never wear a watch. Everyone else around me always has one and there are clocks everywhere you go. What do I need one for? Besides, they irritate my wrist.
2. I don’t really have a cel phone either. My wife has one. I have a work Blackberry I take home once in a while. I don’t get that many calls and if I need to call someone, everyone else around me has cel phones already. Just like watches. And cel phones have clocks! It all fits together…
3. I love the song “Rush, Rush” by Paula Abdul. I’m not ashamed of it either.
4. In 4th grade I found an error in a state-wide standardized test. In 6th grade I found an error in our geometry textbook. In 11th grade I stumped the chemistry teacher when I showed her a contradiction in the material. These might be my proudest academic achievements.
5. Pete Townshend is God. I get very irrational about this subject.
6. I have many food hang-ups, but melted cheese is the worst. Not only do I dislike melted cheese, the sight of it literally makes me nauseous. It’s so repulsive looking to me my stomach does bad things when I look at it. In 2007 I found something I could eat a Mexican restaurant, that was a big step for me. The sole exception to this is Pizza. Pizza, gods most perfect food, is allowed to have melted cheese on it. But even there, it should be cooked and solid, not a gooey stringy gelatinous ooze pretending to be food. Excuse me, I have to sit down and not move for a few minutes.
7. Two of my all-time favorite movies are First Blood and The Accidental Tourist.
8. I am too easily satisfied. It robs me of ambition.
9. I don’t smoke. But I kind of enjoy secondhand smoke. I hate the ridiculous laws against smoking everywhere. Secondhand smoke is not that bad for you. It just isn’t. Get over it people.
10. I’ve kept my blog, www.muttrox.com, going for almost four years. I’ve managed to do it without blogging about work. Too bad, work is such a goldmine of material. I like getting a paycheck too much though.
11. I’ve worked with the guy who went on to make the X-box, and played Ultimate Frisbee for a couple summers with the guy who created Guitar Hero. I can finish Ultima II: Underworld better than anyone in the world. I really loved my year in the gaming industry, but I’m glad I’m out of it also.
12. To this day, I have a really hard time staying up past midnight. Unless it’s poker. Then I’ll go until the sun comes up. This drives my wife crazy.
13. Growing up, I was very little. Pathetically little. Medically dangerously little. In every play I was always the kid at the top of the pyramid or being thrown around. I spent most of my childhood being urged to eat more. Now I have a normal grown-up body, I have a hard time resisting extra helpings and sweets. I was trained for decades to eat as much as I wanted and more.
14. My best friends have usually been tall kids. I wonder if it’s been to compensate for my own height.
15. I get along with practically everyone. In high school I didn’t really have my own clique. I hung out with kids from a lot of social groups.
16. I read thousands of science fiction and fantasy books growing up. I now hate virtually all of it. I keep trying new authors, but so much sucks. Fantasy in particular is just as formulaic as romance or mysteries. If you can’t guess the next plot twist, you’re not trying.
17. I’m old enough to root for the crafty aging vet against the young gun in sports.
18. I grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts. It’s where the “Shot Heard Round the World” happened and the Revolutionary War started. I hate it when people from Concord, MA try to claim the honor. They may have had the first formal battle, but the first shots were ours. You can look it up. So get over it Concord, you lose!
19. I love teaching my kids science. Blowing their mind with the reality of the world is incredible.
20. I once tried to put blonde highlights in my hair. There was a bad reaction, and my hair turned bright white. Not blonde, not yellow, not gray. Bright stop-traffic ow-my-eyes-hurt nuclear white. My family and my wifes all blamed her. Everyone already knew I was idiotic enough to do something like that, but she was supposed to know better and keep me from doing it.
21. I get less religious every year. But I have more appreciation for those who truly are.
22. In school, I was a talented artist. In 11th grade I switched to playing guitar. I think I’m exactly as talented a guitarist as I was an artist. I even have the same style – very good at producing a quick interesting work, very bad at finishing a piece and repeating anything the same way twice. If I ever concentrated on my writing I think I’d be exactly as talented a writer as I am a guitarist.
23. I have to grit my teeth whenever I’m around anyone people with thousands of emails in their inbox or dozens of icons all over their desktop. How can anyone live like that? But I have no problem throwing dirty clothes all over the bedroom floor.
24. I still can’t believe I live in Georgia. We read about some crazy county that won’t teach evolution, and stop and realize that it’s our state now. My wife moved here to do her PhD and I followed. By the time she graduated, we had a child, a house, and I had a career. We’ve been here almost ten years now, and I don’t see us going back.
25. I like Facebook, but the friend list gets out of control way too fast. I have over 15 people who I won’t accept their friend request. Not because I don’t like them, I just want to keep my list down a little. I think there’s 15 people who are mad at me.

Hottub Update

Yes, it’s just as awesome as advertised.

In fact, I’m going to go in right now. Probably just as well – I asked a semi-rhetorical semi-negative question about our CEO in a presentation that was being taped for podcasting to the whole company. Not terribly smart.

Poker Update

A very good outing. I misplayed one hand badly, everything else was at least good.

I started off with lots of blind stealing. There were a couple players that showed weakness, I jumped on them everytime. Things were going good. Up a little, down a little.

I don’t remember this hand exactly right, but it was something like blinds at 100-200. The player to my left raises up to 800, an overraise. I had 800 in already, he went all-in another 1300. Yes I know that doesn’t make sense, I’m forgetting something key. I had A-9. It would cost me 1300 to get around 3500. I had him figured for a pair of Jacks, maybe 10s or Qs. That would explain the overbet, he was hoping to get everyone else out so he didn’t have to fight the overcards. If that was true, then my ace had roughly a 30% chance of pairing. Oh, that’s right, this was postflop. I checked, he put in the 1300. Anyhow – so it wasn’t a 30% chance, more like 16% (? not sure?). I was pretty sure it was a stupid bet, but I decided to call anyhow. Turns out I had read him perfectly, he had the Jacks. Ten seconds later he had my money also.

I’ll skip way ahead. I was playing well. I never had any of the top 5 hands, but I had enough A-10, K-Q sorts of hands that I was able to play. I knocked out that same guy when I had pocket jacks playing three-handed. We got down to heads up.

I started heads up with ~60% of the chips. Very soon we go all in against each other. My A-6 against his A-3. He pairs his 3 on the flop.

A few hands later we go all-in. My K-J against his J-10. He pairs his 10 on the flop.

We trade back and forth for a while. Finally I call an all-in bet. My A-9 to his 10-8. He pairs his 8 on the flop. And again on the turn.

I completely outplayed him but get 3 successive bad beats. All I could do was laugh. It’s not being Helmuth’d, it’s just bad luck.

Tonight: $58
Running Total: $645

Visionworks Rules

When I got glasses a couple years ago I went to Pearle Vision and Lenscrafters. I ended up buying glasses at Visionworks. They were much cheaper for the exact same product.

One of the lenses fell out recently. I went to a local Lenscrafters to see what was the matter. After fooling around for a few minutes, she told me that it was unrepairable and I would need a complete new set of lenses made.

Today I happened to be near the Visionworks where I bought my first pair. They fixed it in 30 seconds. While they were at it, they adjusted my backup pair to fit me better. This is the third time they have done a repair for free.

Visionworks rules!

P.S. I bought my first pair off the internet. The price was right, but I couldn’t get the exact frames I wanted. It turns out I’m really picky about the frames, only Brooks Brothers will do. I wouldn’t have thought that about myself.

Links o’ Interest

A hilarious Superbowl ad that wasn’t aired.

Scale

Pepsi covers My Generation. Not half bad.

Giraffe fight. Never seen one of those.

Sarcasm

Tough Guy Challenge: Shaming triatheletes

7-year old hopped up on dental drugs. And the animated version. “Is this real life?”

Google finds some weird searches alright

Differently abled crowd surfing

This magazine speaks to a vast untapped market

Proper motivation


“I’ll be waiting outside”

Obama’s kind of a jerk.

Obama is tired of your motherfucking shit! MP3s of Obama saying nasty stuff.

Favorite moments of Chaha (the human guided search engine)

Seven people who never gave up. But should have.

The progress bar

Great H-O-R-S-E plays

How do you get kicked off a “My Little Pony” forum?

Texas teacher suspended for being a liberal atheist

A strange alchohol warning

How many days can you be held without charges (worldwide)?

Cool math fight

A very telling contrast: Bush and Obama signing women’s issues bills

The Hardest job in Football (TV Production)

The bad guys step it up a notch: Fake parking tickets lead to fake website lead to real malware.

The bug in the car

The bug wasn’t in the car, it was in the service manual. My car tells you how much oil life is left. When it gets down to 15%, a message is activated. This message displays every time the car is on and stays on until you tell it to stop. It is very annoying. That’s the point.

Today I got the oil changed. It didn’t turn off. I took out the service manual and read how to reset it. It said to get the screen that displayed the oil life, hold down that button for 10 seconds, then follow the prompt to reset. I did it. Nothing happened. I did it again. Same thing. I turned the car off and on. I turned the car off and turned the electrics on. I pressed some different buttons. No change.

I came home and got out my error code scanner so I could reset the error codes. It said there were no errors.

I sat looking at the display for a while. Annoyed. I decided to experiment some more. What if instead of holding down the button on the screen that talks about the oil life, I do it on the screen that has the error code? Yep, that was it.

** ** ** ** ** **
Here’s another pet peeve. In every other industry they are putting service instructions online. Want to know how to assemble your pre-made furniture? Want to know how your computer works? Want to know why your lawnmower is making that funny noise? Just head to the internet, it’s all there.

Want to know how the lights on your car work? Good luck. Pay $20-$60 for a hard printed version from Ebay. Why don’t the OEMs make the information free? Why shouldn’t I be able to go to Acura’s website and see everything in every manual for all the cars they’ve every produced. C’mon! They don’t make much money from manuals. There’s no reason to keep their customers ignorant about their products they bought. It’s ridiculous!

The Night Sky

One of the sad parts about living in the endless sprawl of Atlanta is the light pollution. I am a low-grade astronomy buff, but you just can’t see very much here.

Our children know Polaris, the Big Dipper, Venus, and Orion’s belt. That’s about it. We miss part of the richness of existence when we aren’t connected with the heavens. This old story made me sad exactly because it’s so easy to believe.

In his book “Nightwatch,” the well-known Canadian astronomer Terrence Dickinson comments that in the aftermath of the predawn 1994 Northridge, California earthquake, electrical power was knocked out over a wide area. Tens of thousands of people in southern California rushed out of their homes looked up and perhaps for the first time in their lives saw a dark, starry sky. In the days and weeks that followed, radio stations and observatories in the Los Angeles area received countless numbers of phone calls from concerned people who wondered whether the sudden brightening of the stars and the appearance of an eerie silvery cloud (the Milky Way) might have caused the quake.

“Such reaction,” notes Dickinson, “can come only from people who have never seen the night sky away from city lights.”

Superbowl Halftime Show: Bruce Springsteen

I’m not a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. He’s overrated. I want to like him more. I like his story, I like his attitude, I like his subject matter, hell I like him. He’s a charismatic likable guy. But I just don’t like most of his music. Once you get past the best four songs or so there’s a whole lot of blech.

Nevertheless, he a good performer. I saw him live once, and even freezing my buns off from a seat directly behind him and not liking the songs I liked the show. Last years Tom Petty show featured better songs but this was a much better show. Even with each song was worse than the last it was still good entertainment. 10th Avenue Freezeout is a great tune, Born to Run is good, Dreaming (or whatever it’s called) is ok, and Glory Days is wretched. I wish the ref really had given them a penalty and shut the whole song down mid-chord.

My biggest beef with Springsteen live is the guitars. How many guitars do you need? Seriously. Bruce, Steve, Nils, Patti, that’s four. There was a blond girl and another guy – at one point I counted six guitars. It’s ridiculous. It’s even sadder because you can’t hear any of them. Sometimes you hear one, but there’s no way to make out more than that. And that’s on the records, never mind the live mix. What is that point of all those guitars!?

I am always more impressed by the logistics than the music these days. To get at entire working rock act up and running in 5-10 minutes, complete with a light show and fans and TV cameras and everything else is simply incredible.

And for no reason, one of my favorite songs from way back. Funny stuff from Rick Springfield.

Vegas baby, Vegas.

I’m turning 40 next month. To mark this blessed/cursed occasion, I have chosen to celebrate/mourn in Las Vegas.

If you’re reading this the odds are good that you are also right around that age, or fellow gambling addicts, or just generally fun enough that I want you along.

We’re going March 6 – March 8th. There’s somewhere between 4 and 6 of us right now. If you’re interested, drop me a line, I’d love to have you.

Vegas.