Monday, April 13, 2009

an ode to camping

My friend Aaron just sent this in one of his always-funny "Greetings from New York" emails. Apparently he's a poet too. Quite a work of genius, if you ask me.


An Ode to Camping

Oh camping, why do I like thee?
It seems every insect is out to get me.
Whether tick, or a fly or a mosquito or two,
They bite and they munch, and don't care what I do.

Oh camping, why do I like thee?
When just recently, I got attacked by a tree.
Slowly it fell on top of my head,
It hurt quite a bit, but at least I'm not dead.

Oh camping, why do I like thee?
You'd think a campfire would make me care free.
Instead I just cough, and get smoke in my eyes,
And wish I was warmer, or cooler, or inside.

Oh camping, why do I like thee?
When my sleep is unpleasant as unpleasant can be.
I am cold and I'm damp, and can't stay on my pad,
And the pee in my bladder is making me mad.

Oh camping, why do I like thee?
Why is it to you that I constantly flee?
No bills, no distractions, no annoying people you say?
Now I understand, well, perhaps I will stay.


Now is that great or is it great!? Aaron, I wish I had a fraction of your poetry skillz...


Friday, April 10, 2009

music and smarts (or lack thereof)

Don't remember how I stumbled across it, but I discovered an attention-grabbing blog post* a while back. It highlights an interesting take on how music preferences match up with SAT scores. The guy who put the data together doesn't claim it's some sort of rigorous scientific study, of course, but it is cool nonetheless. He has a chart for books too, though I didn't look at it much. That's a future blog post I suspect.

As for me, most of the musical preferences on his scores chart that I identified with were pretty much right in the middle. But "Rock," "Classic Rock," and "Country" (closest thing to bluegrass) were all on the bottom half, which doesn't bode well for me insofar as it correlates to intellect. So I guess I'm just kinda boring like that when it comes to music. I don't like that cult-following type music (Sufjan, Radiohead, etc.) and I don't like hip-hop/rap/R&B either, so I guess that knocks out a lot of the bands that deviate off the mean the most.

A few things did jump out at me though...

- Beethoven is way out on the high end, while "Classical" is on the lower end. Weird. So if you're gonna listen to classical music to up your smarts then make sure it's Beethoven.

- What the bleep is Billy Joel doing so far out on the right?? That stuff kills brain cells as fast as anything out there, I'm sure of it! I mean, don't you just feel dumber after hearing a Billy Joel song? Come on, I know I'm not the only one. And come to think of it, how's he listed in the top 133 Facebook music preferences? Are there that many Billy Joel fans who know how to use computers?

- Out of his 133 entries, I counted 10 bands that I'd label as "Christian"--and there may be more, given that I've never heard of a few of those on the chart and I don't listen to the CCM-type stuff enough to know the "hot" bands. I'm a little surprised the number is that high though. I would have been surprised to see half that many, given that the other bands are all quite popular. But maybe those CCM bands are too and I'm just totally out of the loop.


* Ironically, the blog is co-authored by one of my pastors. How cool is that!? But don't hold that against him or his blog; he is very good and knowledgeable. He can't be held responsible for a few bad apples in the bunch, you know...


Sunday, April 05, 2009

some due respect for settlers

Settlers of Catan, that is. Having once upon a time been an avid Dungeons & Dragons player--AD&D 2nd Edition, for those familiar with it--and a card-game addict as well, I can relate to the "high end" of the board game world when it comes to strategy and depth. I never did transition into an obsession with computer games, but I'd say I'm still somewhat of a board-game and strategy-game geek. And since I don't consider D&D technically a board game, Settlers is hands-down the best board game I've ever played.* Getting out the Settlers box with old friends was a highlight of past return trips to my old stomping grounds. It's often tempting to seek out gamers up here to see if there aren any good groups around, but casual and fun gamers (as opposed to the overcompetitive, intense, freaky, arrogant, and/or otherwise unpleasant types) are just hard to find, if my experience at local gaming cons and CCG tournaments back in the day was any indication.

A couple of the author's points didn't register with me though. For one, even though Settlers isn't supposed to be as competitive and adversarial in nature as other board games, a lot of our games ended acrimoniously (i.e. someone getting backstabbed, "gang-ups" against the leader toward the end, etc.) such that a follow-up game wasn't in order until folks wound down and relaxed a bit. Also, I can't think of a single time I've ever completed a game of Settlers in under an hour. But the verdict is that we always went back for more. And were we all to gather up again to return to our roots then I'm sure Settlers would be the default game of choice to start off with, even ahead of D&D.

One quote from the article is absolutely true, though:

"[Monopoly] is the Microsoft of our world," Solko says. "If I could wave a magic wand and replace all the copies of Monopoly out there with Settlers, I truly think the world would be a better place."



* Upon further review, that's actually a close call with Robo Rally, another classic that I can't wait to play whenever I'm around like-minded folks. Can't think of a time I've ever not been entertained when playing RR. But I still have to hand it to Settlers in a nail-biter.


an anticlimatic end

Well, Michigan State and North Carolina will face off for the NCAA championship tomorrow. Yay. Never liked either of 'em. This is in the same "what a crappy ending to an exciting postseason" category as the Giants vs. Patriots stupid bowl: The joy of watching one team crash and burn in the championship game could only be equaled by the agony of watching the other team win it all. Although the joy of seeing Belicheat and the Pats lose was more than satisfying enough to make up for the Giants bringing it home, I'm not sure that would be the case this time around. I don't know if I can handle watching either of those overexposed teams I'm just not gonna watch.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

a simple question

Can anyone out there name a single industry in which a union presence hasn't ultimately proven detrimental?

I'm not talking about short-term benefits here, I'm talking actually strengthening the industry. Unions do bring about temporary, and artificially bloated, gains for their members, but in the end they end up strangling the life out of the company or industry. The rob their own future members (or would-be members, as the case may be) for the benefit of those of the present.

I can't think of any company or industry for which this has not already been the case or is not becoming the case as union benefits and demands become untenable. Can anyone else?