07 January 2011

Time to get back into action

It appears i have taken a one year hiatus from blogging. This was not planned. I was just lazy on this front. One of my goals for the year is to post weekly between my different blogs and any guest posts on other blogs.

In the sports world today is the last day to register for the local Winter Indoor Ultimate League. I will once again be drafting a team this year. I don't remember my teams record last year. Only that my drafted team came in 3rd or 4 teams. The team i played on came in 2nd place. This year i want to draft a team that does better than last year. Last year my draft focus was on players that work well and have experience together. This year i want to focus on players i know are quick in short yardage situations and players that are good cutters.

23 June 2009

Living By The Numbers

The current issue of Wired Magazine (17-07) is all about the importance of data collection.  Data collection is a great way to measure progress.  A major step to personal finance is finding out what you spend where.  Most homes have a scale in them.  This tool is wasted space unless you are tracking what you weigh.  My father works in Excel and Access all day.  It is not the numbers that make the difference.  It is and has always been the data.  But not just the data, the analysis of the data. Knowing what the numbers are telling you.

Knowing you weigh 200 lbs is meaningless unless you can analyze the data.  Basketball players at 200 lbs are usually skinny considering there are a number of 7 foot tall players.  Football linemen weighing 200 lbs don’t get drafted.  A 200 lb 4 year old likely has a medical condition.  Using that 200 lbs to get your Body Mass Index is much more useful.

One article in the magazine talks about cyclist Kristin Armstrong’s use of data to train for the Olympics and help earn the gold medal.  Another talks about why Weight Watchers works.  There is one on the Nike+ running system.  You can learn the principles that make Volumetrics work.  One data analysis tool i have been using for a while is The Daily Plate.  They were bought by LiveStrong.  You can track your food consumption, weight, exercise, body measurements and more.  I also use it to save recipes.  The power to the site is not in tracking but the analysis it will do of your data and the social interaction with others on the site.


What do you think?  What data do you track?

01 June 2009

NBA Finals

LA Lakers vs Orlando Magic.  Lakers in 4.  Why?  Because i’ve always been a Laker fan.  Beyond that they made this their goal all year.  One of the “Most Valuable Puppets” commercials has puppet Kobe looking for his “3 championship rings”.  He tells puppet LeBron that you have to be hungry.  That is what the Lakers are.  Hungry.

After being decimated last year by Boston the Lakers have been on a mission.  Sasha would not wear green.  Kobe no longer had to be the star.  Sure he still wants it.  But the ring is more important.  LA has multiple big men.  None will match up to Howard.  But there are 2 of them.  Who can match the one not guarding Howard.  So Howard has to guard 2 big men.  Denver had trouble in game 5 doubling on Pau.  Howard won’t be able to contain Bynum, Odom, and Gasol by himself.  Orlando has good outside presence.  LA has to keep them from rolling in 3’s to win.

In game 4 of the WCF something turned on for LA.  They could smell the trophy.  They were struggling with Denver until they realized the championship was in their grasp.  If you watched the presentation of the trophy for winning the West; it was a chore.  None of the Lakers cared about that.  Last year they were glad to make it to the Finals.  This year getting to the finals is just another task on their campaign.

29 May 2009

Card Game Review : Fluxx

To accompany Hard Work = Money’s Reduce Gaming Costs i am highlighting some of my favorite games.  Today’s game is Fluxx by Looney Labs.  The game of ever changing rules.  The changing nature can make this a hard game to describe.  Watch a round and it is fairly easy to pick up.  My first Fluxx box described the game this way. “FLUXX: A Perfectly Simple Game for 2-6 Players”  The game is simple in a way.  It takes about as long as a hand of Uno to play.

This game was recommended to my by someone that had never even played it.  I went to a game shop and said i was looking for a new game.  The guy working suggested this game because people were buying it in German if English was out of stock and were coming into the store just to ask for this game.  They had had it about 2 months and he knew people loved it.

How to play the game

This is much easier to show.  The rules in the box even tell you to jump right in.  At first the game had 5 card types.

  • Basic Rules – The starting point of every game
  • New Rules – Change how you play the game
  • Goals – Complete these to win the game
  • Keepers – Cards that help you win
  • Actions – Things you do once.

Since i found this game in 1999 there are new card types, rules, decks, etc

  • Ungoals – Complete these and everyone loses
  • Meta rules – Mix between a Basic Rule and New Rule
  • Creepers – Undesirable cards that make it harder to win

Basic Strategy

The box used to tell you how to win. “The goal of the game? Oh, I’m terribly sorry. No one has played one yet.”  The best way to win this game is figure out how to change the goal and complete the new goal.  Some parts to the game have no strategy.  In Monty Python Fluxx The Outrageous Accent can be used to get you extra cards or to annoy others.  Paired with I Just Want To Sing and sing in that outrageous accent.  So how do you strategize?  With luck. Or skill.  The game is a blast to play.


Every game has expansions and this one is not any different.  There are different decks, expansion packs, promo cards, wooden boxes, flowers, blank cards and who knows what else will come in the future.  There is even one card that is only valid if signed by the games creator.  I recommend not trying to get everything for this game.  If you get all the decks, expansions, and everything else there will just be too much.  Games will take too long and people will get bored.  To start you need one deck is all.  I recommend 4.0, Zombie or Monty Python. Not all card types are in every version and by version 4.1 the rules will likely have changed again.

Why i love this game

The rules change.  There is a Monty Python version.  Zombies.  Martians coming soon.  One version is called Stoner Fluxx.  Family Fluxx or Eco Fluxx might be more your style.  The game is simple enough that my nieces and nephews like to play.  It has enough variations that it changes frequently.  Inside all the silliness there is some actual strategy to win.  It is by a company called Looney Labs.  If you do buy everything keep the playing deck to 100-200 cards.

27 May 2009

Board Game Review : Last Night on Earth

To accompany Hard Work = Money’s Reduce Gaming Costs i am highlighting some of my favorite games.  The first game is “Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game” by Flying Frog Productions.  This game has been described to my as a board game for board game players.  I tell people the game is Clue with Zombies where you are trying to survive.  It takes about an hour to play a game.  According to Flying Frog

Last Night on Earth, The Zombie Game is a fast-paced game of brain-eating Zombies, small town Heroes, and horror movie action. Players take on the role of either the Heroes, working together to make it through the night; or the Zombies, unending waves of undead spreading over the town like a plague. Featuring a modular board, eight Heroes to choose from, and several different Scenarios to play that drastically change the game, Last Night on Earth is designed to create a cinematic feel as the story and game unfolds.”

How the game works

This game is designed with a “modular board” that has 1440 different board layouts.  First you randomly create or select the board layout and the mission for this game.  Then you determine who is going to be a zombie and who are heroes.  You can play with 2-6 players and i recommend 3+.  Each round has the zombies move and attack then the heroes move and attack.  You have different strategies depending if you are on the Zombie or Hero team.

Basic Strategy

If you are playing as a hero the strategy is complete the mission.  Missions include survive, save townsfolk, kill x zombies, get out of town.  Complete the mission and the Hero team wins.  The mission determines if you want to run and hide, fight, or search the town.  As a Zombie you are trying to stop the heroes.  Winning usually includes kill x heroes or stop the heroes from completing their mission.  On either team the cards you get to play can change the game in your favor.

Expansion Packs

Most games will try to make extra money by creating different versions (Risk, Monopoly, Scene It) or by creating expansion packs.  This game has expansions.  There are 3 expansions so far.  Two are additional missions with additional cards.  There is the Growing Hunger expansion with additional cards, board game pieces and characters.  There is a second expansion pack coming out soon as well.

Why i love this game

It has zombies.  This might be enough for some.  I like how every game plays different.  You can be a Zombie or a Hero.  It actually comes with 16 dice so there will be enough to play the game.  The game comes with an original soundtrack on CD.  There are fan scenarios and character that can expand your game.  The game was well planned and designed making it fun to play.