2016 Goals Update

I wrote this post in early January about my goals for 2016. A little over halfway through, how am I doing?

  • Write 250 posts for the blog – Not even close to on pace.
  • Get my own cat – No, but I think I will!
  • Buy and actively play a keyboard – No, but I bought an electric guitar!
  • Go to three major-ish US cities I’ve never been to – I’m at four including already-planned-but-not-yet-completed trips!
  • Go to one country I’ve never been to – Gourlay, want to go to Japan in December?
  • Invest some of the money that’s sitting in my bank account – I spoke with a PNC adviser yesterday, we gave it all to Madoff.
  • Run 2000 miles – My 25MPW training plan does not equal 2000 miles.
  • PR in anything running – I’m counting my 56.06. More to come!
  • Watch an American win a gold medal in a distance race at the Olympics – Let’s go Jager, Centro, Huddle, Jenny, and Jock!
  • Break 100 in golf – I shot a 54 on the back 9 not too long ago… Does that count? Unlikely.
  • Don’t break any bones – As long as I don’t drop a bowling ball on my foot.
  • See a tornado – Not sure why I put this on there.
  • Cry from a movie – No, but I did cry from a Youtube animal video. Suggestions?
  • Go to at least five concerts – I haven’t counted but I will easily exceed five.
  • PR in bowling (212)I mean… c’mon
  • Visit the West Coast – Ticket to San Fran is booked for October!
  • Visit Gourlay in Richmond – Not this weekend but next!
  • Go to a Richmond Kickers game – I hope this doesn’t happen.
  • Play for the Richmond Kickers – A freakin’ dog could make the team.
  • Be in the black from gambling – Rob and I have a casino trip scheduled that should take care of this.
  • Accurately predict every game in the March Madness bracket – Temple losing to Iowa was my only miss.
  • Advance my career – It couldn’t have gotten any worse.
  • Buy a nice new suit – Still necessary.
  • Be on a boat out on water with only one other person – Haven’t even seen a boat in 2016.
  • Meet someone famous – Does Scott O’Neil count? I didn’t actually meet him, just played him in Knock Out.
  • Watch the Godfather and Scarface – I watched Scarface and it wasn’t good. Still plan on watching the Godfather.
  • Finish 1984 – Close to 0% that this happens.
  • Win a race – The 14 year-olds at these local road races aren’t as fast as I expected.
  • Spend over $100 per person on a meal – Yes but it was the company’s money, not mine, does that count?
  • Make people like me and this blog again – Comments are up lately!!!!

Road Race Do’s and Dont’s

I ran the Summer Sizzler 8k / 5k this week and it highlighted a lot of Do’s and Dont’s in the road-racing world.

Do’s

Post-Race Food & Drink

WeyerbacherBananas, pizza, pulled pork, and best of all, unlimited free beer! Having a local brewery in Weyerbacher as a sponsor was a very good idea, as the unlimited free beer is reason enough to spend $40 on a 5k.

Accurate & Well-Marked Course

The course wasn’t creative or exciting (an out and back on roads), but it was clearly marked the entire way AND accurate. It seems easy, but you’d be shocked how many races fuck one of these up, if not both.

Top Prizes

First place got a nice six pack of Weyerbacher beer, an additional ~30 ounce specialty beer, and a gift certificate for a free brewery tour and free 64 ounce growler fill. This beats the hell out of a plaque. Creativity here can be risky, as people are usually happy with cash, but this was a good example of a positive change.

Dont’s

Two Almost Equal Race Distances 

ComicThere was a 5k and an 8k. What the hell is the point of this? The 5k people have to wait around forever and both races have less competition. If you can run a 5k you can run an 8k, and vice versa. Pick one and stick with it.

The Start Time

This race was billed to start at 10:00 AM. It was already 88 and the sun was beaming down. Start your race by 9 at the latest, preferably by 8. No one will complain, I promise.

The Dude With the Microphone

Holy shit, this guy just didn’t stop talking. The race was supposed to start at 10:00 AM. He started talking to everyone at 9:50 and didn’t finish until 10:10. He gave turn-by-turn instructions of the course and no one cared. When you say a race is going to start at a certain time, make sure it starts at that time and don’t waste everyone’s time.

Too. Many. Awards.

award49% of all participants were offered recognition at the awards ceremony (124 of 253). The awards should take 10-15 minutes tops. This took 45 minutes. Every freakin’ age group went up and had their picture taken. This was such a waste of time and half of the people he called had already left.

Overall?

I’m consistently surprised at how oblivious these race directors are. People want to show up, run their race, eat some food, chat for a bit, get their award, and GTFO. No one wants to spend more time than they have to. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m speaking from the minority, but I don’t think so.

I was happy that the course was well marked and that the beer was free, but I was there an hour longer than I hoped to be, and I’ll never get that time back.

Bowling Battle

I haven’t updated about bowling in a few weeks, so I’m going to now.

Last week I tarded out in the first game with a 134 but rebounded with a 181 and a 244. Tom had probably the best series of any Snake ever with three straight games over 200 and about a 635 series. Wevs threw a solid ~550 with a 226 game in there and Weens has been much more consistent this season. Yet we only went 2-2.

out fucking standingTonight, Tom and I went to South Bowl for some practice. Competition was fierce, as we were in a dead heat after 5 games, both averaging 202.2.

In the tie-break game 6 I managed to pull away despite leaving the 10th open. I’ve never bowled that well that consistently in 6 straight games, so I’m feeling confident. The two handed ball is a difference maker.

Scores from tonight below.

Sam Tom
Game 1 177 180
Game 2 201 191
Game 3 221 233
Game 4 235 213
Game 5 177 194
Game 6 212 170
Total 1223 (203.8) 1181 (196.8)

Tomorrow is the league and the Snakes plan on asserting our dominance as one of the best teams in the league (we say that every week). I’ll only update if anything CRAZY happens.

My First Yoga Class

I took my first yoga class on Wednesday. 

  • It was harder than I expected. If that was a beginner’s class, I can’t imagine an expert class.
  • I wasn’t worried about messing up (MAYBE CAUSE I NEVER DID) and didn’t really notice when others did.
  • I was worried I was going to fart, sometimes it seemed like that was the goal of the pose.
  • I would write my favorite part but I forget what it’s called and it would take like a paragraph for me to describe it.
  • They call him Yoga Alex for a reason. I’ve never had a different instructor, but I thought he was great.
  • I can see why people enjoy doing this all the time, but I’m probably not one of them.
  • No one flipped their dogs.

Next class is next week, can’t wait!

Yoga
I “photoshopped” out my co-workers so I don’t get sued.

Elon, Tesla, and Autopilot

Elon posted on Tesla’s blog yesterday, and it’s amazing. If the snippet below interests you, read the whole post

When true self-driving is approved by regulators, it will mean that you will be able to summon your Tesla from pretty much anywhere. Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else enroute to your destination.

Tesla LogoYou will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost. This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla. Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not.

In cities where demand exceeds the supply of customer-owned cars, Tesla will operate its own fleet, ensuring you can always hail a ride from us no matter where you are.

So, in short, Master Plan, Part Deux is:

Elon-Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
-Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
-Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
-Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it

 

If there’s one person who can actually execute their insane vision for the future of the planet, it’s Elon Musk. What’s posted above will actually happen.

Thank you Wacker for keeping me up to date on this stuff.

Life on Mars, the Great Filter, and the Future of the Human Race

omgI read this paper the other night (courtesy of WaitButWhy), and it blew my freakin’ mind. It’s a shade under 5,000 words and pretty hard to understand, but here’s my best sneak peak, and if you find it even remotely interesting, I suggest reading the paper.

In short, the author’s thesis is this:

If we find any form of life on Mars or anywhere else, the human race is probably screwed. But if we don’t find anything, then it may only be a matter of time (millions of years) until the human race takes over the entire Milky Way galaxy!

The Fermi Paradox says that we should have evidence of intelligent life other than us by now (we don’t), and the Great Filter tries to explain why we don’t.

So what is the Great Filter? Since we haven’t found any other form of intelligent life, but the numbers say we should have by now, then something must be stopping intelligent life from getting to the point of galaxy travel – The Great Filter is that thing. It’s some evolutionary gap that is extremely difficult to get past. Meaning all life that should have advanced to populating the galaxy, has hit it which caused them to go extinct before reaching that point.

If this is true, then there are two possibilities:

  • The Great Filter is behind us.
  • The Great Filter is ahead of us.

If the Great Filter is Behind Us…

not even my final formThen we’re in great shape! We passed the one-in-a-billion evolutionary gap that prevents almost all life-forms from reaching galaxy-domination. Sure it will probably take millions of years to get to galaxy-domination, but that’s the easy part.

Scientists have a few guesses as to what the Filter may have been, a leading candidate being Prokaryotic cells evolving to Eukaryotic cells (which took ~1.8 million years).

How does this relate to finding life on Mars?

By definition, it would be extremely unlikely to have TWO separately existing life forms on planets that are right next to each other, and have BOTH get passed the Great Filter. So if we find life on Mars, it more likely means that…

The Great Filter is Ahead of Us…

sad spongebobIn which case, humans are fucked. There’s some evolutionary gap that we almost certainly won’t get passed in order to advance to galaxy-travel.

How does this relate to finding life on Mars? Or anywhere else for that matter?

The longer we go without finding life, the better odds it seems that the Great Filter is BEHIND us, NOT ahead of us. Why? Take for example the prokaryotic to eukaryotic theory. If we found a dog on Mars, we could be almost certain that that gap was NOT the Great Filter. Our only real hope would be that somewhere between dog and human evolution is the Great Filter, and that’s not very likely.

So while finding life would be awesome, it might ultimately imply that we as humans are fucked at some point in the future because the Great Filter is ahead of us. At least this is what this guy is arguing.

But… Should We Care if the Great Filter is Ahead of Us?

pidg LIGAFI sent the paper to Bud last week who basically said I don’t care if finding life means humans may be screwed, I think it would be cool and it’s something I want to see. Why should I have any pride if humans eventually own the galaxy? I’m going to be dead.

I agree with Bud. In my lifetime, I think it would be amazing to find life outside of earth, and I actually kind of think it will happen. And the odds that my life is cut short because the Great Filter is ahead of us, not behind us, is basically 0%.

If you somehow made it this far in the post, set aside 15 minutes and read the actual paper.

Melania vs. Michelle

As someone who, in general, leans right and doesn’t like the hard left, this was too good to NOT post.

My guess is she had no idea she was copying Michelle. She was probably given that speech, read it, and thought Wow, this is great, thanks!

My questions are:

  • Who decided to plagiarize?
  • Did they think they wouldn’t get caught?
  • What’s happening to them now?

I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance The Donald is the answer to #1. In which case his answer to #2 would be I don’t care and the answer to #3 is nothing different.

My New Guitar

Yesterday I went to Guitar Center and said I want to buy an electric guitar and I have no idea where to start. After 15 minutes I walked out with a new guitar, amp, strap, case, $500 less than I started with, and I am ready to ROCK!

I’m not that good at guitar. I don’t really know what I’m doing. I “mess around” more than anything just looking up tabs and making up shitty stuff. But regardless, after having this electric guitar for like 30 hours, it is really fun to play.

I doubt this will spur a huge growth in my musical ability, but I’m happy with my investment thus far.

I screw up like 35 seconds in.

4 Possible Reasons I’m Running Well

Coffee

Wawa CoffeeI’m a coffee drinker now. The only reason I started is because it’s supposed to help running performance.

I’m bad at dealing with Caffeine. I had a 20 ounce coffee like 4 hours before my 5k on Tuesday and my heart rate was through the roof the whole time leading up to it. I was buzzing so hard just trying to keep myself under control until race time. Maybe coffee really does do the trick.

A Daily Vitamin

VitaminI take a daily vitamin now because Alex told me to. I take it every week day after lunch.

I have no idea what’s in it, nutrients and stuff I think, but maybe there’s EPO or HGH or something that’s just making me feel amazing.

The label says WITH IRON and I know runners often struggle with Iron. Mystery solved?

The Stick

StickMy dad usually buys like 20 Christmas gifts that no one wants but this year he struck gold with a foam roller and stick thing.

I use the stick a few times a week and I think it actually helps. Maybe it’s keeping my legs in good shape since I never stretch.

The Training

I suppose it is possible that the low mileage, high intensity, lots-of-rest training is actually the reason. I’m getting in quality work and I’m always recovered because I take so many days off.

TurtleI’ve always preached mileage but you know the old saying – there’s more than one way to skin a turtle.

I may slowly bump my mileage to say, 40 miles a week, and keep the intensity near the same, and see if that launches me into PR shape.

Elon Musk and Probability Streams

I was reading a WaitButWhy post where the writer sits down with Elon Musk. Below is a quote from Musk about how he thinks about the future:

The thing that I care about is—when I look into the future, I see the future as a series of branching probability streams. So you have to ask, what are we doing to move down the good stream—the one that’s likely to make for a good future?

Thinking of the future seems intuitive.

  • You want a promotion? Work harder.
  • You want to run faster? Train more.
  • You like someone? Talk to them.
  • You want to have a good time? Drink a lot.

ElonIt’s not rocket science, but for whatever reason, Musk’s line of “branching probability streams” really stuck out.

There’s a probability stream where I’m CEO of my company. One where I win $100,000 at the blackjack table. One where I’m dating Taylor Swift. One where I’m dead in a year.

Some streams are obviously more ‘probable’ than others. But thinking of each decision you make as narrowing down the probability streams to the ones you want the most is a good way to think of things in my opinion. It helps put things in perspective and think long term which is often hard to do.

So moving forward, every decision I make will be to narrow down my streams to the one where this blog is the most famous blog in the world. The first step should probably be deleting this post.

Elon Musk is kind of the man and the WaitButWhy series is really cool (and really dense) if that stuff interests you.