Copyright

All blog posts, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted to the Author (that's me) and may not be used without written permission.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Water, Water

Through a desire to change my actions and with the encouragement of both my girlfriend and my boss, I began a program of drinking one standard (.5 L or 16 oz) bottle of water each day.

To many people, this does not sound hard. But I hate the taste of water (yes, there IS a taste to water) and I prefer just about anything else to drink (excluding coffee and tea—I dislike both of those beverages).

At first, I was barely finishing the bottle. Most days I would have to gulp down the last few inches in the container before leaving work or take it with me and finish it at home. During this time I came to realize I dislike drinking cold water except in specific instances. So I got smarter and started leaving the bottles out of the refrigerator.

In an online article proclaiming how to drink more water in a day, the author suggested leaving an open bottle of water at your PC. In this way, she wrote, you would be more likely to grab that and take a sip than to stand up and go hunting for a soda machine or wander over to the coffee maker. So I started doing that, too. The key is to make it more accessible than whatever else you may want.

I am now getting to the point where I am finishing the bottle before lunch, and even earlier some days. On occasion, I am even refilling and finishing a second helping.

Perusing the internet for water facts, there seems to be little consensus on how much water a person “should” drink each day. Some people recommend 32 oz a day (4x8) while many advocate 64 oz (8x8). I’ve seen anecdotal evidence that you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day as a rough estimate. Others admit that you can drink too much water, getting to the point where additional water does you no good and some even suggest you can reach the point of water poisoning if you drink “too much.”

The other thing to consider is that everything you eat and drink contains some water. I’ve seen some nifty conversions to allow you to count the “typical” beverages one might imbibe during the day. One suggested that you can only count half the volume of a beverage with caffeine as part of your water intake. Another discounted entirely all caffeinated drinks. For sugary beverages, the results were even more wildly askew—I just want a drink, I’m not going to do complex mathematics to figure out how much a beverage adds or subtracts from my water intake! So I threw those suggestions aside.

I drink a lot of beverages during the day. I like drinking more than eating. With as wildly varying as is the information I see online regarding water intake, I have decided to take a middle-ground tactic and do whatever feels right to me.

Currently, my plan is to replace the “during the work day” sodas I typically drink with the one bottle of water. I will try to increase that to two bottles of water during the day if I seem to hold true to this current kick and can make it a habit. I will drink whatever I want with lunch and dinner. I will continue drinking milk and fruit juices as I see fit in addition. I figure that all of this will combine to get me fairly close to the 64-80 oz of water per day that seems to be recommended.

Today as I write this I am just finishing my second bottle of water. That makes twice this week I’ve managed to finish more than my goal.

Monday, March 27, 2006

New Scam

Watch out for jury duty scam

Here's a new one: identity thieves who pretend to be from your local court and say you failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for your arrest. Then they ask for your social security number, birth date, etc. Many folks who would never be fooled by an email scam will give out this info over the phone. Don't do it! Hang up and call the court yourself or go there in person to be sure you're dealing with whom you think you are.
http://www.wxpnews.com/14751X/060328-Jury_Duty_Scam

Saturday, March 25, 2006

PersonalDNA

A friend's blog mentioned this, and I liked the test, so thought I'd share my own results here.

I came out as: Considerate Idealist.

I liked it because most of the test was done with sliders and grids rather than absolutes. Most personality tests are too strict in their responses-- they insist you answer one of 3 or 5 responses they provide, rather than letting you explore the gray areas inbetween those responses.

Anyway, overall I think these responses are pretty accurate.

My PersonalDNA results

If you'd like to take the test for yourself, follow this link: PersonalDNA

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bowling Update (3/22/06)

Tai and Arvin each had one very nice game, one decent game, and one sub par game. Jean was right on average the entire night. I continued my personal streak of weeks with a 200 by scoring a whopping 243 but followed that with two decent but sub par efforts.

We won the first game by 12, lost the second by 49, and then lost the third by 2 pins and finished 1-3. Unfortunately, Arvin admitted feeling some guilt for that as our anchor bowler. He needed a mark and 1 pin in the tenth, bowled a perfect strike ball, and the seven pin wobbled as far as a pin can move without actually falling over. He then just missed picking up the spare. Mr. Tenth just didn’t have it tonight. However, in all fairness, the team had a streak of opens in the 6th and 7th frames. In the same two frames, the team we were bowling against had all strikes and two spares. That was really what killed us. We went from up 100 pins to being up only 30 in those two frames. We then started marking in the 8th frame, but then followed those with opens in the 9th. Meanwhile the other team had nearly all marks. Instead of an easy victory and a possible 4-0 night, it became a dog-fight and our dog just didn’t have enough bite left in it.

On a personal note, I managed to break one of my long-standing records. I have, even with all the good bowling I’ve been doing lately, never had six strikes in a row. I’ve done five a number of times, but the sixth has eluded me. Tonight I managed six in a row in the 243 game. I guess I earned my new nickname of Mr. X, eh?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Science and Super-Heroes

I just found out about this. Must ... go ... now!!!

- From California Science Center.

- From Super Hero Hype.

This puts all my geek-ness into one, nice, neat, little package!!

I'm Jonesing.

IE 7 (Beta 2)

On my home PC, I download the Beta 2 version of Internet Explorer 7, which will be shipping with the upcoming new Windows OS release.

I have to say, Windows is learning. They have finally caught up to other browsers with tabbed browsing, they have made many of their security features less intrusive, and they have done away with a bunch of the toolbars that used to clutter the IE screen.

I feel that the IE browser seems to display pages faster.

Opera, while I liked the file size and lack of intrusion, I didn’t care for the application. Firefox I enjoyed, but constantly had problems with any site running Java or certain xml code not loading. With IE 7, I seem to get all the advantages of Opera and Firefox but I don’t seem to be having issues with Java and other scripts. And I still have my Favorites tab, which is one feature in IE that I always liked and of which I made full use.

I am still a bit concerned about the processor and (especially) the memory requirements I keep reading for the next Windows OS version (currently named Vista, I believe). But I am quite pleased with the changes I am seeing in IE 7.

Now, if Microsoft would just unbundled it from their OS….

Friday, March 17, 2006

Equal Rights?

The Case
There is a current court case with the following facts (as presented by that smarmy ass, Anderson Cooper, on CNN—I miss Chris Brown!):
A dating couple decided to have sex. He made it very well-known in the relationship that he did not want children. The woman assured the man repeatedly that she had a medical condition which precluded her from getting pregnant. Based on her stated medical condition, they agreed to have sex without contraception. She somehow got pregnant and he is now required to pay $500 a month in child support for a child he did not want. He is suing to voluntarily give up all rights to the child and be dismissed from all responsibilities relating to that child (including paying child support, visitations, etc.).

Anderson Cooper brought in a “resident ethicist” who seemed to completely miss the point of the lawsuit as presented. The ethicist’s argument boiled down to “if the man didn’t want children, he should have used a condom or abstained from sex.” This argument ignores that:
• The couple in question was dating, so it is perfectly reasonable for them to make the choice to have sex.
• The woman claimed, whether factually or erroneously, that she could not have children. She claimed it was a medical impossibility.
• The man made the woman aware on multiple occasions and prior to sex that he did not want children. So the woman knew this going into an intimate relationship with him.

If these facts hold up in court, and discounting any attempt by the woman to “trap” him by falsely claiming she could not get pregnant (I have yet to find any discussion about this, so presume that her inability to have children is not in question), it seems clear that the man had a reasonable expectation that it was impossible to father children through unprotected sex with this woman.

It could be argued in this particular case that, by agreeing to have sex with him knowing his position, the now ex-girlfriend has entered a legally binding verbal agreement with him. Her decision to have and raise the child is clearly antithetical to that agreement. Since she has not honored their legal agreement, the agreement could be dissolved and the responsibility for breaking it is hers alone.

Different Rights under the Law
Men and women have an equal opportunity to abstinence and contraceptives in order to avoid pregnancy. Abstinence is the only method that is absolutely, 100% guaranteed not to produce children. Many medical conditions also carry a reasonable expectation not to produce children. For example, if a woman has no ovaries or eggs, or the man is infertile, both sides can expect the sex not to produce children. However, every form of contraceptive has some chance that a pregnancy can occur, and couples who use contraceptives are making a tacit agreement to accept those risks when they agree to have sex and use contraceptives.

When an intimate encounter results in a woman getting pregnant, whether by chance or design, the man stops having any rights concerning the pregnancy while the woman still has three available options: custody (keeping it), abortion (getting rid of it), and adoption (giving it away).

This disparity can cause some interesting scenarios:
• If a man is clear about not wanting children, the woman can ignore the man’s wishes, have the child, and force him to pay child support for a child he has repeatedly stated he did not want.
• If a man desires to have children and expressly makes that opinion clear in the relationship, the woman can choose to abort the baby without considering his wishes or consultation with him.

If the woman knows the man’s position and it has been stated clearly, why would she choose to do something contrary to that position? I can only think of a few possibilities: she lies to him about her own intentions, she thinks he will somehow “change,” it is a “medical miracle” (like this case seems to be), or she is directly opposing his position for some reason (either to “keep him in her life” or to hurt him in some way).

Since any fetus is quite literally 50% hers and 50% his (it takes exactly one egg and one sperm and each parent contributes exactly 23 chromosomes in a standard pregnancy), and the repercussions from the pregnancy affect both parents, why doesn’t the man get at least some say in what happens to a pregnancy?

It is absurd to even suggest that a man could somehow legally compel a woman to have an abortion against her will. No court in the land would ever consider passing that law. If a woman decides to give the child up for adoption, the man who doesn’t want a child is satisfied and the man who wants the child can sue for custody and can adopt the child. But, and here is where it gets tricky, if a woman chooses to keep and raise a child against the man’s express wishes, the man’s only current option is to pay child support (if he can afford it) or become a felon by not paying it (if he cannot afford it or refuses to acknowledge it).

Why doesn’t the man have a legal recourse to remove himself from this circumstance? Men could sign some form of Emancipation from Parental Responsibility clause or contract giving up all rights and responsibility to the child he does not want and refuses to support. In essence, he has aborted the relationship without aborting the pregnancy (which the woman apparently wants).

If this court case is found to have merit, whatever resolution is reached will have to be carefully worded in order to allow men as little “wiggle room” as possible, otherwise current so-called “dead-beat dads” will have a plausible ‘out’ for not paying their mandated support. On further reflection, it may even be impossible to write a law that is constructed in such a way as to provide the request without also allowing ample room for abuse.

Conclusions
Any court rulings concerning reproductive rights are a very touchy issue. These issues strike right at the core of humanity—it pulls in gender differences and biases, it is affected by religious and philosophical opinions, and it deals with issues that are extremely private and strongly held.

In a perfect world, each couple will discuss their reproductive needs prior to committing any sexual act. They will form a consensus that will be open and honest and will not waiver if the unexpected happens. People will not lie to one another in order to force the circumstance they want to happen. Until that perfect world is created, we should take a hard look at any ruling that favors one sex over the other and see if we cannot find some middle ground in which to provide for both sexes’ reproductive rights.

Further Reading
BBC Americas

CNN

Thursday, March 16, 2006

DVD Discs

From an article/item on IMDB.com today:

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Video Distributor Says Hi-Def DVD Format Is "Price Prohibitive"

Image Entertainment, which distributes classic movies on home video, is likely to hold off releasing such films on high-definition DVDs. Martin Greenwald, the company's president and CEO, told an investors conference in Las Vegas that the cost of mastering high-definition discs is currently price prohibitive for companies like his. As reported by Home Media Retailing magazine, Greenwald said that at a meeting with Sony execs in Japan about Sony's Blu-ray format, he learned that mastering costs would be $40,000 per movie versus $2,000 for a standard DVD. Each disc would cost $2.00, twice as much as a conventional DVD.* "We have to wait until that price point comes down to a level that actually works for us," Greenwald remarked.

* emphasis mine

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My question: if the average DVD discs cost $1.00 each (as implied by the statement above), and the average DVD costs $20 to the consumer, where is the other $19 per disc going? Who is getting that money?

The typical blockbuster moves about 3-5 million DVD units the first week it is available. That means the issuing company is paying $3-5 million and is making $57-95 million in profit after disc production costs.

Bowling Update (3/15/06)

Some days it is just not your day. You know it, those around you know it, and there is nothing you can do about it. You can rail against the system, you can go meekly, but you cannot win.

Our team was run over by a steamroller. We basically bowled average in all three games, and lost by 100 pins per game (roughly). That is to say, we started with a 60 pin handicap advantage that the other team made up—quickly—and then proceeded to lose by an additional 100 pins.

In the second game, I bowled well enough to continue my streak of 200 games (203, 9 weeks in a row now), but that was a footnote to the evening. The story was that Brett, their #2 bowler, decided to bowl a 299. Yes, you read that correctly. He bowled 11 strikes in a row and left a hanging 10 on the final throw of the streak. A 299! I was one pin from seeing a perfect game. It was spectacular and the only real reason he didn’t get it was that the front desk decided to announce the 50/50 winning ticket numbers as he was on the lanes trying to psyche up for the final throw. Overall, he threw a 724 (212, 299, and 213). Congratulations to Brett for a great night.

Tai wound up not being able to make it, but this time it would not have made much of a difference. You just can’t win when the bowling gods decree otherwise. When a team can make up a 60 pin handicap and go on to beat you by around 100 in every game, there is little you can do to fight it.

So, we regroup, we hope that Tai can reconcile his commitments to work with his commitment to us, and we try to come together again as a team and finish the last 6 weeks strong.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Who's Baking Muffins?

I love blueberry muffins. Moist, soft blueberry muffins are right up there with chocolate, ice cream, grilled steak, and pancakes for favorite things to eat.

Renee, my boss at works, makes award-winning blueberry muffins. That isn’t a misnomer on my part, either; she entered them in the Orange County Fair last year and won first prize. My girlfriend, when I visited both at Halloween and over Christmas, made me very good blueberry muffins from a mix. They were large and fluffy and quite good—especially with a pat of butter and heated in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Mmmmm.

Said girlfriend picked up some of the same mix and left them here when she visited me. The first batch I tried to make turned out tiny—I misread the package and instead of making 5, I filled a 12-cup muffin tin. Oops.

This time out, knowing my mistake, I used the 6-cup tray. I filled 5 cups 2/3 full, just as the instructions said. Apparently I have small cups, because I had almost exactly enough to fill the last cup 2/3 full too, which I did. I baked for about 18 minutes (the package said 16-21—18 made them lightly golden-brown on top).

And I still got tiny muffins. They literally did not rise at all in the tin!

I brought two into work for a morning snack but showed them to Renee (and Dorothy, who is in the office next door and decided to be nosy). I explained what I did, but neither couldn’t figure out what I could be doing wrong to make them not rise at all. Then Renee had a thought, “Did you really beat the batter?”

“I made sure it was smooth.”

“There’s your mistake. In order for muffins to rise, you want to just make sure the batter is moist—nothing more. If you stir it too much, they don’t rise.”

Dorothy chimed in, “Yeah, you want to stir it like 5 times—just enough to moisten it. You almost want it lumpy.”

How the hell am I supposed to know that?

I am always impressed with people who can cook and especially those who can cook in a variety of different mediums (baking, sauces, stir-fry, steaming, roasting, broiling—whatever!). I have a few things I do pretty well, and I can (usually) follow a recipe to a pretty decent conclusion. I actually enjoy cooking, when I do it, even if I’m not that great. I think I like the challenge of it. But when I meet someone who can cook well, I like to stand back and watch in awe. I’m especially jealous of people who can get everything done roughly at the same time—that is a skill I have yet to master, although I’m finally getting better at it.

In my opinion, even if you are following a recipe, cooking is an art form. There is something to it that allows a level of creativity and secret knowledge that provides one with the skill to transform base ingredients into something magical. Cooking is alchemy. Taking lead and turning it to gold; not everyone can do that. Quite a few turn that lead into dirt or ash and some can only keep it lead. Many can turn that lead into brass or silver—perfectly respectable attempts, and valuable—but few have the skill and talent to turn what they touch into gold. If you take two people randomly off the street, put them in identical kitchen environments and with identical recipes and ask them to make the same dish, and one may make the best meal you’ve ever tasted and another will make something that tastes slightly better than burnt cardboard. It’s just the way cooking goes—not everyone can do it.

This week I will try another one of those mixes. This time, I will try my best to only just moisten the mix. We’ll see if I get better results.

We Who Are About to Die

There are a few tales that movies, books, and TV can express that most people will never experience. One of those, the demands of leadership, is a great story to tell using these media.

Tonight’s 24 had the main character, Jack Bauer, needing to make the decision to cause the deaths of two people by sending one of them into a toxin-filled area to deactivate a PC that was keeping the computer expert from starting the filtration system that would clear the toxins and save everyone else. Once the person opened the door, he and the other person in the room had until they took a breath before the toxins would kill them.

Kiefer Southerland portrayed the anguish and the determination of a leader effectively. There appeared to be no other way to save the majority but to sacrifice these two people, so he took it to give everyone else a chance at life. It was obvious that the decision affected him, and deeply.

Star Trek: The Next Generation hit on the same theme. Deanna Troi decided to take her command examination. Using the Holodeck, Riker tested her by presenting her with a command decision that required her to send one of her teammates to their death in order to save the ship without telling her what decision the test was asking of her.

She tried the task many times and from many directions before she finally realized. In the end, not realizing that Riker was watching, she ran the exam one last time and was able to send the hologram Geordi into the reactor to his death in order to procure the ship’s safety. At this point, a compassionate Riker stepped up and basically told her, “Sometimes leadership means sending those you care for to their deaths for the greater good.”

She passed the test.

Most people in this world are not leaders. Of those who do hold positions of leadership, most will never be in a situation where the lives of those they lead will be at stake. So it is only with the aid of various media that we can experience what only those in our emergency services, armed forces, executive branch, and police forces can.

These stories make me wonder—could I make that decision in a similar circumstance?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bowling Update (3/8/06)

Well, it is hard to tell how we did because we bowled blind tonight. The other team is set to do a make-up round on its own prior to next week’s bowling.

Because of that, I will only mention some individual achievements:
  • Jean bowled a season high 167 in the first game and had a mid-150s in the third.

  • Arvin improved every game and was basically on-average for the day. Actually, if just a few pins fell differently, he would have had a nice night. He had some ridiculous leaves.

  • Speaking of pins not falling, Tai had his “A” ball tonight, but kept having 1 pin leaves on strike balls. He managed to have a nice night.

  • I managed to get two 200s (literally, I bowled exactly 200 in the first two games) and followed it with a 179 in the third. I missed two easy, easy spares to start the third game—otherwise I had a 600 series in my grasp. So, my streak of consecutive weeks with a 200 continues.

Now we wait until next week to find out how we did. By our estimation we likely won one, we most likely lost the second one, and the third game and total pins is a toss up. So we could be anywhere from 1-3 to 3-1 depending on how well the other teams bowls the make-up.

And let me tell you, bowling the make-up can be nerve wracking. The alley is supposed to allow you to bowl in “near league” conditions—that is the point of having to make an appointment with them—but this alley doesn’t do that. The last time we bowled a make-up we were surrounded by children and people who did not know lane etiquette. The team we are up against commented that they have not bowled a make-up before, so they may find it a little disconcerting.

We’ll see.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Decision

M and I decided over the weekend that it makes the most sense for me to move there at this time. While we leave open the possibility of moving back to Southern California or to some other location in the future, it appears the best option for us now.

That being said, this now opens a huge number of questions that we must resolve. Immigration is a complex matter and will likely require actual legal help to navigate. A friend at work’s wife deals with immigration as a paralegal and he’s going to ask her for some initial information for me to get me started. I also have access to the ARAG legal group through my incentives at work, so I will be contacting them shortly to start asking questions. What are the rules for Permanent Residency and/or Citizenship?

I have spoken with my boss at work and I can definitely keep my job after moving. However, there are still questions involved—do I pay taxes in California, America, and Canada? What about bank accounts—is it easier to keep my current accounts and open a new one in Canada, or just use the California accounts from there (as I have been doing while visiting)? How about my connections speeds and ability to work effectively from Canada? What about my 401k retirement plan? Will I need to take vacation or a leave of absence in order to perform the move? As a side note, my current lease at my apartment is up in October. Can I get out before then?

Being a pet owner, and M being resigned to my need to bring my pet with me, brings up still other questions. How will my cat handle the move? How will she handle the plane ride? What immunizations and paperwork do I need?

And then there are the health concerns. How will my insurance work in Canada? Will I need it, or can I use Canada’s socialized health care even with my chronic illnesses? One immediate benefit may be that my medications will be cheaper. Even with insurance, I pay nearly $1000 a year just on medications; if I can get them cheaper in Canada, bonus! Obviously I will need to get a full copy of my files from my three current doctors to take with me, and that is another, albeit minor, expense.

What about my truck? And then there are all of my things that I will take, and all that I won’t take. What to do with all the stuff I don’t need/want? And what about import costs? Taxes? Shipping costs? Are there items I cannot ship to Canada (I am both a gun owner and an exotic weapons owner)? What about my personal electronics (PC, TV, TiVo, etc.)?

Lastly, I’m moving to a location that definitely has weather. Which means my window for moving is limited. Can I answer enough of these questions quickly enough to work on moving this summer, or will we have to wait another year?

M and I are actively pursuing answers to these and a whole host of other questions. We are trying to break it down into palatable morsels that are easier to digest; otherwise, we might get overwhelmed by the host of questions.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Shakespeare's Lesser Known Poems

My English Literature background is showing... I found this hilarious!


*The Hokey Pokey*
Shakespearean Style


O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke.
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from heaven's yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke -- banish now thy doubt.
Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about.

V for Vendetta

Okay, they are suckering me again. I really wasn’t planning to see V for Vendetta in the theatre because they have yet to do a great job on any Alan Moore comic book on the big screen. Plus, I know that they cannot possibly get all the richness or detail that Moore wrote into a 2 hour film.

That being said, so far the previews and reviews I’ve read from those who have seen rough cuts indicate that the filmmakers have done a pretty good job of keeping to the spirit of the work. The images I have seen show a stark, militarized England. It looks like, just as in the comic, V will be both a terrorist and a liberator. It looks like Evey goes through roughly the same psychological torture/indoctrination.

One worry I still have is that, in the comic book, the story isn’t really about V. He’s a mythic figure, and you never see “his” face, so the tale is told through the eyes of those who are affected by V’s actions. Being a big-budget movie, I’m fearful they will lose that perspective and tell it more like a straight “super-hero” story, which is not what V for Vendetta is. It is a vital part of the story that, when she has a chance, Evey chooses not to see the face behind the mask.

In the end, the central theme of the comic is about whether the ends can justify the means. The government has justified its totalitarian rule and zero-tolerance policy toward criminals and different races because it has produced stability and virtually non-existent crime. V uses terrorism and anarchy to justify breaking the hold the government has over the people and torture to bring Evey around to his side, no matter the cost in lives in doing so.

Of course, critics and people unfamiliar with the work will assume the filmmakers are making a statement about Bush’s presidency. The original work was published in the early 1980s.

By the way, here is a great site with loads of information on the comic.
V for Vendetta

Rain, Rain...

We just had a hellacious downpour of rain strike for about 15 minutes. It was so hard that trees were bending from the relentless pounding of the rain. Flash floods were, I'm sure, sweeping down the streets and especially in the rain runoff aqueducts.

Actually, it has been wet or rainy for 4 days of the last week. At no time prior did it rain this hard, but our "winter" weather has surfaced. Looks like more to come this weekend, too.

Once More

Yes, I know I'm harping. Deal with it.

University of Arizona environmental microbiologist Chuck Gerba agrees. "The dirtiest thing you'll ever touch in a public restroom is a urinal handle," he says. Plus, water provides ample breeding ground for microorganisms. "And when you flush a urinal, you'd better step back," he quips. "I think waterless urinals are much more sanitary, by a long shot."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bowling Update (3/1/06)

Strangely enough, we didn’t have a bad night, overall. Jean bowled two games well above average. Arvin and I had one game each above our average. However, that was not enough.

All three of us were off in the first game, with each of us bowling significantly below average and the team losing by 123 total pins in the first game alone. All three of us had our high game in the second, and we managed to win by some 30-40 pins or so. And then, while Jean had another good game in the third, Arvin and I fell flat again and we lost, although we kept it a little closer. We wound up losing total pins by around 200. Special shout-out to Arvin who nearly got a 200 (193) in the second game and had a shot to beat my score.

It was a frustrating night for both teams, as no one could find a consistent line. I tried moving right, left, adding speed, adding hook, bowling straighter—not one of the usual adjustments for lane conditions helped. I actually had a streak of 7 straight 9s on the first ball at one point. The strange thing was that I left the 10, the 8, the 7, the 2, the 9—I didn’t have a consistent leave to point me in the direction of what to fix in order to get on a line.

During our four-week winning streak we had all four members show up and bowl every game. In that time, we went 14-2. In the last two weeks we have had one or more person not show or be late and the team has gone 2-6. Coincidence? Before our streak, we had a bunch of missed sessions as well, and we tumbled just as badly—which is why we needed that streak to get back to respectability as a team. And, in case anyone thinks I am picking on my teammates, I have missed some dates and the team has generally done poorly when I’m not there as well.

The season starts in September and goes through the end of April. During that time, there are generally only 3 weeks that are scheduled off—the Wednesday right before Thanksgiving, and two Wednesdays before and between Christmas and New Years. Other than that, you’ve got 34 weeks of bowling. In addition, the summer league starts the very next Wednesday after Sweeps in the Fall league. So there is no time off. There is no room for vacation, personal issues, illness, etc.

Jean and I have some health concerns. Jean also has a busy schedule of vacations, trips, tours, etc. as a semi-retired person (she is retired, but still is active in her church, at choir, and in her women’s club). Tai recently changed jobs, so he has had training and “new job-itis” (where you feel you have to go above and beyond to prove your worth). I now have changes in my own life, which are well documented elsewhere in this web log, that have caused me to miss some weeks. Arvin, bless his heart, is the only one who has not missed a week. Not one, in two fall leagues. Of course, he’s hurt himself during basketball and shown up deathly ill and has usually bowled like crap at times like that, but he’s always there.

My point is, a bowling league is a team activity. And it is obvious that, when our entire team is present, we are much more successful than when someone is absent. Sure, we have bad weeks when we’re all there, but the overall history of nearly two full, 34 week seasons, shows that we are more successful when the entire team is there. The chemistry is good, we have fun, and we just bowl better.

Here’s to hoping we can get the entire team to consistently be present for the remaining 7 weeks of the league.

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On a personal note, I continued one streak while another ended. I managed to bowl a 205 to keep my streak of consecutive weeks with at least one 200 game alive (7 weeks and counting). However, during that streak, I also had a streak of consistently bowling above my current book average which allowed me to improve that average every week. That streak is dead (at 7 weeks). I bowled 157, 205, and 157 for a 173 average. My current book average is 186. So my book average will drop by at least one point and possibly 2. Since one of my personal goals was to reach a 190 book average by the end of this season, and there are only 7 weeks left, I need to refocus my efforts on that goal and see if I can’t start a new streak.