Elon Musk – April 2017 TED Talk

Elon’s at it again with this latest TED talk. Certainly worth the 40 minutes if you plan on being alive for the next 5+ years.


Elon Musk discusses his new project digging tunnels under LA, the latest from Tesla and SpaceX and his motivation for building a future on Mars in conversation with TED’s Head Curator, Chris Anderson.

Last Chance Training – Update 3

I haven’t posted an update about my training for a while because of how bad it’s gone.

“I think I’m in 15:40 shape”

I started to hit a groove and was feeling really fit about 7 weeks into it. My first race was planned for March 25 and I thought 15:40 was a realistic goal. On March 23 I got the flu.

The Flu

I didn’t run for 10 straight days, and then for the following 10-15 days or so I couldn’t muster up much more than ~4-5 mile runs at a slow pace which left me exhausted.

By the time I’d gotten over the flu I had lost fitness. I’m a couple weeks back into “real” training but it’s been rough.

Last week I had three notable runs:

  • 3 mile tempo @ 5:34
    5:37, 5:35, 5:32. I probably tried a little too hard to hit the 5:34 average.
  • 4 x 1200 @ 3:50 w/ 2:30 jogging rest
    A total disaster. I went 3:53, 3:56, then threw in the towel 200m into the third interval when I was on over 4:00 pace and dying. Not sure what happened
  • 12 mile long run
    This was yesterday. I did the first 6 in ~6:55s and the last 6 in ~6:40s feeling relaxed the whole time. I was happy with this.

Where does this leave me?

I signed up for Swat Last Chance which is Monday, May 15. I was actually starting to believe I would PR with the way things were going. At this point, sub 16:00 is even a stretch, but I’m going to run it no matter what.

I don’t look at this as a failure. If anything I’m encouraged. Things were going really well and a stroke of bad luck dashed this training cycle. I’m not giving up on PRing. It’s going to happen.

Casino on a Tuesday

On Tuesday, our marketing department went out for dinner / drinks after work.

It was 8:00 and someone half-jokingly suggested going to Parx. I was obviously on board and surprisingly so were the other 5 people.

After a quick drive and Wawa ATM trip we arrived at Parx. A coworker of mine and I sat down at a $15 min bet blackjack table and got started.

I had two note-worthy hands.

Hand 1

On a $100 bet, I had 99 against a dealer 4. I split. Stayed on hand one, then got another 99, so I split again, quickly going from a $100 hand to a $300 hand. None of the three hands were great, but the dealer busted and I got up a quick $300.

Hand 2

I was up $400 and my coworker said something about the plunger strategy which I’ve mentioned before to him. I plunged. My $400 profit was on the line.

First card 2. Okay.

Dealer card 6. Very good.

Second card 9. LEGGGOOOOOO!!!!

I had $405 left, so I doubled my 11 against a dealer 6 for an $800 hand. I had like four coworkers watching so I needed this to work. Dealer flips my card. KING!

The shoe ended a few hands later. I tipped the dealer $25 and cashed out for a net profit of $1200.

Now what?

A few months ago I went to Parx alone on a Sunday and won $1000. I don’t do anything with the money I win. I brought in coffee and donuts to work this morning, but other than that, it just goes into my bank account.

The one thing I’m going to buy with this money is a Kitty Castle for Covy. I’m also considering giving a $100 tip somewhere just for the hell of it.

Other than that, I don’t have any good ideas aside from the obvious of “go back to the casino, sit down with $1200, and try to turn it into $10,000”, which is a good idea.

Russ Westbrook and the Stats – Playoff Edition

“Russell Westbrook had the single greatest season ever!”

“Russell is unguardable!”

“He’s the MVP!”

The Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs last night after a game 5 loss to the Houston Rockets. The series was a tale of one player and two narratives.

Here are the game by game shooting stats for Russ:

Game 1 – 6/23 (26%) for 22 points (L)

Game 2 – 17/43 (40%) for 51 points (L)

Game 3 – 11/24 (46%) for 32 points (W)

Game 4 – 10/28 (36%) for 35 points (L)

Game 5 – 15/34 (44%) for 47 points (L)

Total – 59/152 (39%)

Narrative One (I disagree)

Russ has no help. He’s the only player on his team who can score and his teammates constantly defer to him, so he has to shoot. He’s also a freak athlete who can get to the rim at will so it works.

Additionally, you don’t average 10+ assists a game by being a gunner. He tries to get his teammates involved and get them easy buckets. But clearly the team falls apart when he’s on the bench because his supporting cast just isn’t good.

Narrative Two (I agree)

Russ does everything because Russ wants to do everything. His teammates defer to him because that’s the culture that’s HE’S created. And I don’t buy the 10+ assist metric because he has the ball on literally every play when he’s in the game, of course he’s going to get 10 assists, that doesn’t mean he’s not selfish.

Russ is a career 31% 3 point shooter. He took 49 threes in this series and made 13 of them (27%).

Could his team be better? Of course. But I think Russ is partially the CAUSE of his team being so bad. They’re not playing basketball, they’re playing give-it-to-Russ-and-see-what-happens. That works in the regular season, but you’re not making it far in the playoffs like that unless you have another star like KD to carry the team while Russ sits.

There’s a reason Kevin Durant left OKC. You can’t win a championship with a player like Russ dominating the ball like that, and he shows no signs of changing.

Keep shooting Russ! You may go down as the best player ever to not win a championship.

My $17 Pair of Socks

I bought a $17 pair of running socks 6 months ago. I had no idea they were $17, but by the time I was at the register, I wasn’t going to put them back.

They’re really nice, too nice actually. They feel great. In the 6 months I’ve owned them, I’ve worn them twice; for the Rothman 8k and for my long run today.

My thought process for never wearing them is this:

“Jeez, I spent $17 on these, I don’t want to wear them out on a stupid 6 mile run on a Wednesday. These should be for special occasions!”

This is the paradox of buying nice things.

I buy it because it’s nice, but then I never use it because it’s too nice and I don’t want to wear it out. I’ll probably wear these socks four times a year and they’ll never be worn out, just because they were $17 and not $2.

The Food at South Bowl: A+

I bowl at South Bowl 1-2 times a week. Bowling alleys aren’t known for their food, but South Bowl is.

I’d tried most items, but they recently updated the menu and I had my first ‘new’ dish on Monday – the steak sandwich. It was a 9/10 and only cost $8.99. There’s 5 other new things on the menu that I haven’t tried but plan on doing so.

I don’t know how South Bowl does it, but they consistently put out restaurant quality food for a fraction of the price in a way better place – a bowling alley. I may start going there just for the food, it’s that good.

So if you’ve read my stupid bowling posts and are even 1% curious, make a point to go to South Bowl, get yourself a great meal, and bowl a game or two to see how stupid this hobby we’ve taken up is.

My Recommendations:

  • Steak Sandwich
  • Chicken Cutlet Sandwich
  • Burger however you prefer
  • Shroomin’ Pizza
  • Korean Fried Tacos
  • Grilled Shrimp Scampi Pizza

Thank you South Bowl.

Elvis Passing is the End of an Era

Elvis was put down last Thursday.

Animals passing sucks. I think it’s due to their innocent nature. Humans know when they’re dying and what it means, so you don’t feel as bad. Animals just know they don’t feel well.

Elvis passing is a symbol. For the first time in over 20 years, my parents’ house does not have a cat in it. Elvis was the last remaining cat of an era of cats that represented my childhood. That time in all our lives, the Stortz ‘childhood’, is formally done.

Unfortunately, JC’s birthday was the next day. JC loved Elvis more than anything, probably more than me. It’s a sad reality but it’s a part of life. So while we mourn the loss of Elvis, we celebrate the time we had with him, especially JC. Happy birthday dad.

That said, I’ve ushered in a new ‘era’ with Covy. He’ll be the cat I have for the next ~10 years as I transition through this stage of my life. Then, perhaps when he passes, I’ll be entering a different part of life and get a new cat. Pets are a timeline of life.

I’m embarrassed to say I can’t even find a good picture of Elvis. RIP buddy.

Beer Half Marathon

Last week a guy ran a half marathon and drank 13 beers. It’s similar to a beer mile. Run a mile, drink a beer, and repeat. After seeing that I decided this will be my next challenge.

I think you’ll easily accomplish this feat, Sam.

I said that if I don’t break two hours, I’d consider it a failure. Wacker immediately said that he doesn’t think I can drink 13 beers in two hours at all, let alone run 13 miles while doing it.

So as a precursor, I’m going to see how long it takes me to drink 13 beers, but I don’t think running 8 minute miles in between beers will kill me.

As it stands now, I still think sub 2:00 is a good goal. If the 13 beer time trial goes horribly then I’ll reconsider, but I really think I’ll be able to do it.

PolitEcho – My Political Bubble

I don’t like harping on this topic, but since it’s something I’ve mentioned before (and something that stirred a lot of conversation), I think this post is relevant.

Someone shared a link to PolitEcho which is a Chrome plugin designed to show you how your Facebook feed is skewed (if at all) politically. It looks at all of the page-likes of all your Facebook friends, ranks how liberal / conservative they are, and plots them on a graph (you can get more specifics on their site).

Obviously this isn’t an exact representation (since some people don’t like ANY pages, like me), BUT it does show you who’s popping up most on your Newsfeed, so you can see what you’re exposed to.

Here are my results:

The cool thing about this graph is you can hover over the bubbles and it shows WHO it is and WHAT pages specifically they like. The shade of the bubble shows how confident the algorithm is that this person ranks where they should rank. It’s confident that the dark blues are liberal and dark reds (there are none on my example) are conservative.

Another graph:


These results are likely very similar to what my readers would see, the feed skews liberal. This isn’t surprising, but it does go to the point of the name “PolitEcho” – are you in a Facebook political echo chamber or are you being exposed to both sides?

Nothing groundbreaking here, but it’s interesting to get data on the topic.

Things I’ve noticed since moving out (again):

  • I’m eating healthier
  • I like cooking (so far)
  • I’m drinking more and more often
  • Covy shits non-stop, it’s amazing how much this cat poops
  • I like commuting (except when there’s traffic)
  • Parking is amazing at this new place compared to the rest of Manayunk
  • I don’t like watching regular TV other than Seinfeld
  • I consistently sleep 7 hours or less a night, half because of Covy
  • I could play COD for days
  • I feel better being among people my age than in the suburbs
  • I’m blogging less (thank GOD)
  • This place is probably too nice for me and Rob
  • I’m going to be 26 soon which seems too old for me
  • I’ve slammed like 100 chicks this first week, it’s wild. I knew it was just being at my parents place that was holding me back.