Mary Christmas

I’ll try to keep this post short. Christmas 2013 was a success in most regards. Yesterday (Christmas eve), Tom, Jeff, Laura, and Brookes spent the night. We drank a lot, watched the Internship with Owen Wilson & Vince Vaughn, and played a large amount of ping pong. It was an enjoyable day as expected.

The exchanging of presents today was as normal as you could imagine. We do a Stortz polyanna every year. I bought Jeff tickets to see Dr. Dog and my mother bought me a number of things that I was in desperate need of. We had some family and friends over as usual but nothing extreme.

I can further update on my experimental bicentennial week. I would describe it as this: It was going well but is going to be postponed. In two days I ran 21 miles and drank 19 beers. Today I could barely muster a 6 mile run because my right leg has been bothering me. Tomorrow may be my first off day in 26 days. I’m not going to risk an injury when I’m seriously training for a marathon for an experimental bicentennial. This leg injury is something I anticipate will go away in a day or two if I take it easy but could turn into a week off if I push it.

I will say this though, sleep is going to be an extremely important factor in the bicentennial. Initially I underestimated it but just in these two days I could tell. I was on ~7 hours of sleep for the past two nights and was absolutely drained today.

Amos, I like the idea of the “Blue Collar Bicentennial”, indicating that I did it while working 40 hours a week. This would be significantly more impressive, however, I have my doubts that I’d actually be able to do it. If I did though, it would be without a doubt my greatest accomplishment to date in terms of these silly challenges.

As always, with my life recaps, some gifs! In honor of the holidays though, these are all going to be cute animal gifs.

cat adorable

this is adorable

mugs owned

cats

cat boobs

 

pidg LIGAF

The Bicentennial

There’s a challenge that runners attempt called the Bicentennial or double century. It’s a simple idea, you have one week to drink 100 beers and run 100 miles (14.3 beers/miles a day). I’ve never attempted this but it is on my bucket list.

For the next week I will be in an experimental mode. My thought process is this – I’m going to run as many miles and drink as many beers as I can so long as they don’t interfere with each other. If I wake up hungover and can’t do a morning run or if I run too hard so that I can’t drink more than a few beers before being wasted, then I’ve failed my experiment. I’m going to very lightly test the limits of this challenge.

Last week I ran 67 miles and, on a complete guess, drank 25 beers. This week I’ll be casually drinking every night and will likely run about the same amount of miles. I want to see how far I can go without it getting “challenging”. Obviously I wouldn’t drink this much normally but moreso because there’s no point, not because I can’t. I’m thinking I’ll probably run 65-70 miles this week and drink maybe 55-65 beers. That would be a pretty good start.

So where do those last 30 miles and 40 beers come from? I don’t think it works in a linear fashion. Every 10 miles gets exponential harder which might be contrary to logic. Logically, a 10 mile increase from 90 to 100 is way less (11.1%) than a 10 mile increase from 50 to 60 (20%). I don’t think it works like that in this case.

On their own, neither of these tasks are that difficult. I’ve run 100 mile weeks before and although I’ve never tracked my beer consumption for an entire week, drinking 14 through the course of a day isn’t that bad when you have all day to do it. But when you put these two things together, it becomes a problem (very similar to the 6-12-18-24). If I drink a few beers after a 14 mile run, no matter how hard the run is, I’m going to get drunk quickly. Then, every morning, I’ll wake up a little more hungover than the night before and my legs will be a little heavier. Sure the first few days will be fun, but it will start adding up.

I think if I had an entire week OFF then I could do it. I would wake up and run a slow 14 miles every morning. Then I would recover for a few hours before starting a slow and steady pace of ~1.5 beers an hour. This would leave me time to sleep, rehydrate, etc. before going out for my next run. It would be a commitment, but it would be very doable.

However, I don’t have 7 days of nothing coming up in the near future. It will come down to a decision. Do I take a full 5 days of work off just to do this stupid challenge? Or do I attempt it while working 40 hours a week? Hypothetically, if I try it during work, I would have to do a long morning run, drink two beers at lunch, do a short run at night then go relatively hard each week night (only to wake up at 7:00 for a 8-10 mile run?!). My weekend would have to make up for some slacking, but I think it’s still doable, though not ideal.

I’ll have to make this decision soon. I do plan on doing this in the near future though. I’m training for a spring marathon and what would be more beneficial than a 100 mile week? Or maybe I can do it directly after the marathon. Regardless, I think I should be able to attempt it at some point.

Thoughts and opinions are welcome.

What drives my traffic?

Quality content in order to drive blog traffic is important. If I’m posting boring content about my life, I won’t get too many visitors. Quality, however, can be defined a few different ways.

A few days ago I wrote a post about Nikki Benz being in Acura’s holiday commercial. If you Google images the following terms, the two pictures I created are the TOP TWO results and really the only thing relevant to the topic: “blonde in Acura commercial” or “Nikki Benz Acura” or likely any variation of those terms. I generally average ~70-80 visits a day. In the past two days, the Nikki Benz post has been visited over 300 times and that number is rising rapidly.

***I’ve since learned the model in the commercial IS NOT Nikki Benz. It’s a model named Amanda Landry. Obviously I’m going to keep the pics up for the traffic.

The other post that drives extremely consistent traffic is my Boner at the Olympics? post. If you Google the word “boner”, my picture is the TOP RESULT.

Did I think either of those were great posts? Not really. They were good, but I didn’t really do any critical thinking or deep analysis. I just cropped a few photos and made an observation that I thought a lot of other people would think of. But the thing was, I Google’d these topics before I wrote the posts and realized I was going to be the first one to actually put up content about it. I thought I would get some traffic from both, but not this much.

While it’s nice to get a spike in traffic, it doesn’t build my confidence in the thought that this blog will generate real, consistent traffic. I struck gold a few times now, most notably the Phoenix dust storm, but it never lasts. It doesn’t matter if I have these genius posts that are thought provoking or quality writing, that just doesn’t drive people to the site.

I could change the concept of this blog a bit and start doing more posts related to pop-culture to try and have more success like this but what’s the fun in that? I’ll take it as a Christmas gift but that’s all it is.

Analytics
What’s the secret?

Top 10 Drinking Games

Tom recently had a great post (one of many as of late) about his top 10 drinking games. I feel I have a good handle on drinking games and wanted to put my personal spin on his great idea of a post. I’ve added a fourth category, Convenience, because Kings would never be played if it weren’t convenient and 40 hands would be way more popular if it weren’t so inconvenient. I also seem to be a bit more generous than Tom in my ratings.

10 – Thumper
I’m actually a very big fan of Thumper. I think it’s a blast if you have enough people who are into playing and it can really make people look foolish as you get drunk. However there are two problems with this game. First and foremost – not a lot of drinking happens. Second – it gets repetitive. I’m almost always up to play this because it’s not played enough in my opinion, but as a ‘drinking game’ it’s not top-notch.

Skill: ★★
Fun: ★★★
Drunk: ★★
Convenience: ★★★

9 – Beer Pong
I will not deny that Pong is the benchmark drinking game. Everyone knows it, everyone has played it, and almost everyone likes it. Although I will play it, I don’t like it that much and think it’s overrated. It’s limited to four people at at time which is annoying. Most of the time it’s played with water so drinking is not enforced. Too often do you have a game drag on for 10 minutes too long because both teams are bad and not really trying to win. Although it is found at nearly every party, pong is not high on my list.

Skill: ★★★★
Fun: ★★
Drunk: ★★
Convenience: ★★★★

8 – Edward 40 Hands
I like 40 hands more than most because I’m good at it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great drinking game. It’s like the gallon challenge except easier but more annoying. There are few scenarios where this game is a good idea. I would only play this if there was nothing else going on. It’s mostly fun to look back and recall doing it, not actually doing it. Generally when I drink two 40s in half an hour it sets me up for an extremely drunk night. With all that said however, I like the game and it gets you wasted, that’s enough for me.

Skill: ★★★★
Fun: ★★
Drunk: ★★★★★
Convenience: ★

7 – Up the River Down the River
This is my go-to card game for two reasons, it gets you drunk and it’s so easy to play. You can play with four people or ten people and no one needs to know the rules. The simplicity is good, but the end is the kicker. Getting and assigning drinks is what makes this game more than just guess-and-drink-if-you’re-wrong. There’s no skill at all, but it’s a good pregame game, it’s easy, and you’re drinking constantly.

Skill: ★
Fun: ★★★
Drunk: ★★★★
Convenience: ★★★★★

6 – Baseball
This game is not played nearly enough. A combination of beer pong and flip cup as well as strategy of when to steal versus when to let the man bat is what makes this game the most skillful. Drinking a lot is almost inevitable unless you’re playing against scrubs (which can be terrible because then there’s no drinking). The problem in my mind is that there may be too much standing around and it’s kind of a pain to play because you need either six or eight people, and there’s a guarantee that there will be a mess afterward. It’s like Risk or Monopoly – it’s a big commitment but if done right, it’s a very good drinking game.

Skill: ★★★★★
Fun: ★★★
Drunk: ★★★
Convenience: ★★

5 – Power Hour
The power hour is great to play when you have a small group of people looking to get drunk. It’s always a challenge to not only see who finishes it, but who can name the title and artist of every song. I think it’s a great bonding experience as well. However, it’s a full commitment to an hour of time and it can sometimes lead to being too drunk or puking. I once made it to 58 minutes and then puked, pathetic.

Skill: ★★★★
Fun: ★★★
Drunk: ★★★★★
Convenience: ★

4 – Pyramid
I love this game. There’s a ton of skill and memory required and the drinks can add up very quickly. Not only does it generate grudges against people, but it also makes people look like fools because it’s damn near impossible to remember your cards by the end of the game. The downfall is that those who don’t know how to play are intimidated and don’t see the fun in it. If you have 4-7 people who know how to play, then this one is great.

Skill: ★★★★★
Fun: ★★★★
Drunk: ★★★
Convenience: ★★

3 – Quarters
It’s fast paced, high pressure, and builds grudges (grudges are key to a good drinking game). There’s not much to say about this one. It’s a lot of fun, good for most situations, and everyone can play. It’s very well rounded. My only problem with it is that there can be gaps in drinking since only the loser is supposed to drink.

Skill: ★★★★
Fun: ★★★★
Drunk: ★★★
Convenience: ★★★★

2- Wizards
Wizards is an all day drinking game that’s a blast. It’s a big commitment but when you have people on board this is tough to beat. There’s a somewhat unspoken rivalry between everyone. You don’t openly say that someone is drinking too fast or that you’re trying to keep up, but everyone knows. It’s also great when you play with boxhead where the person in last is forced to wear the empty case of beer on their head. As your staff grows, it becomes a point of pride. It’s a tangible accomplishment that no other drinking game offers. It’s doubly great because you can play other drinking games while still contributing to your staff. It’s perfect for runners because it’s a race with all the similar elements. You don’t want to go out too fast but if you wait too long, no kick will be enough to hit wizard status first. It’s also encouraged to play with Natty Ice to increase difficulty.

Skill: ★★★★
Fun: ★★★★★
Drunk: ★★★★★
Convenience: ★★

1 – Flip Cup
This takes the cake for me. It’s the perfect mix of skill, drinking volume, and social interaction. It’s is fun and fast paced where everyone can play. It’s perfect for six people or sixteen people. I find that this game in particular is a great icebreaker if you have a group of people who don’t know each other very well. Best of all, you actually get to drink! The game is centered around drinking. There’s essentially no flaw to this game that I can think of other than having an odd number of people or people not actually filling their cups.

Skill: ★★★★
Fun: ★★★★★
Drunk: ★★★★★
Convenience: ★★★★

My Droid Experience

In a few weeks I’ll be able to upgrade my phone. I currently use a Droid Revolution. Over the past two years, here’s what I’ve gathered about my Droid: IT SUCKS!

When I went in to buy a smart phone, it was between this Droid, or an iPhone. I didn’t want to become an Apple fan-boy and be dependent on their products so I went with a Droid. How much worse could Google be at making phones than Apple?Droid

Two years later I cannot wait to get an iPhone. First and foremost, my droid is slow. I have an appkiller, I’ve deleted all of my texts, it doesn’t matter, the phone is slow. EVERY process takes longer than you except. At this point in our daily lives, we want INSTANT gratification (some may consider that a problem) and my Droid thinks “instant” means ~5-20 seconds. Instant means instant. It drives me crazy when I see I have a new text and it takes the phone 10 seconds to load it.

To compound the slowness, the phone has glitches. I’ll click to view a new text and it will bring up the old text box with a different person that I was just using. Then I have to click out, go to messages, then click into the new text. Even after I read the text, the phone will still say I have “1 unread message” which makes me think I’ve received another text. It’s devastating to see that it’s the same message from before. Candy Crush will randomly close in the middle of a game and will continue to do so unless I turn the phone off and turn it back on. My emails never refresh. My Twitter app informed me every single day that I had 198 new tweets (that has since been fixed). The list is endless.

You would think after 2 years that I’ve developed some emotional attachment to this thing but I haven’t. I hate this thing and want to get rid of it. Google/Droid has lost a customer and I would bet that there are many more like me who had a shitty experience that will be getting iPhones as soon as possible. Initially I didn’t like the idea of support the giant Apple (which doesn’t make sense because Google is also a giant) but now I see the light. I know iPhones aren’t flawless, but they are a significant step up from this piece-of-shit droid.

Acura Holiday Commercial

***I’ve since learned that the model in the commercial IS NOT Nikki Benz. As a commenter pointed it, it’s a model named Amanda Landry. This was confirmed by her Twitter page. I look like quite the fool (although you can see the striking resemblance).

Here is Acura’s holiday commercial that they’re constantly running now. Watch it and see if anything strikes you.

Nothing out of the ordinary, right? WRONG! When I watched this for the first time I instantly noticed something that I imagine very few others would notice. The smokin’ hot blonde that they show twice in this commercial, is a porn star. I can say this with 99% confidence. The porn star’s name is Nikki Benz. Look below for a side-by-side picture.

Nikki Benz Acura Commercial Blonde 1

Nikki Benz Acura Commercial Blonde 2

 

I don’t know what this means, I mostly just wanted to point it out. Is it bad that Acura would use a porn star in their commercials? I would imagine that type of press isn’t ideal but at the same time, who’s their target market? People who will look positively on a hot porn star with huge boobs.

This also makes me wonder what it’s like shooting on set with a porn star in a non-porno. Are all the guys hitting on her knowing that they have a decent chance of a quickie because she’s a porn star? Or are all the guys intimidated because she’s probably seen weiners that are twice as big as theirs? Would all the girls be bitchy towards her because they most likely look down on her profession? Or are they in awe of her good looks and incredible body?

I for one, am impressed with Acura, and although I probably won’t be buying an Acura anytime soon, my percentage of buying one has increase 10 fold (from about .001% to .01%).

Zerg Rush Gone Wrong

Courtesy of anon on 4chan. If you’ve ever played Starcraft you should find this funny, I thought it was absolutely hilarious. A zerg rush gone horribly wrong.

After watching this numerous times (and laughing hysterically), I would likely bet money that this is fake for two reasons.

  • How in the hell did the other guy have ~10 carriers in the time in took our boy to pump out SIX zerglings?
  • There’s no way his comment at the end of “Alright I’m going to try to pull some drones off to stop this” is serious. He would have to know that the drones would do absolutely nothing there.

Although it’s probably fake, his line of “WHAT the hell is that” (4:04) and “OH MY GOD” (4:20) have me dying no matter what.

Party Time

My weekend was a blast. On Friday I traveled to Roxborough to check out Gourlay’s new place. Him and I, along with his roommates and a few others, hung out and drank beer all night which is always a good time. The next morning we grabbed some breakfast and then I headed home. His new place as well as the surrounding area is very nice and it’s cool to see a living situation that will likely be similar to mine when I move out.

I went on an easy six mile run with Palm on Saturday afternoon. I haven’t seen too much of him so it was very nice catching up. Saturday was also Dave’s Tiz Da Season III party. It was very similar to the previous night – we hung out and drank beers the whole night and while it doesn’t sound like much, it was a great time. Also similar to the previous day, Adam and I woke up and went to Lancer’s for some morning-after Eggs Benny which hit the spot.

With a mild hangover, I went out for a fast and enjoyable 10 mile run. I came home to watch a pathetic Eagles game (McCoy only rushed 8 times?!?!?) but Dallas collapsed in classic Dallas fashion so the Eagles still have a good shot at the playoffs.

I try to keep these life updates short because I know most will skim through uninterested. I also think a post is better than no post. I always try to give something that makes your visit worth it so once again, here are a few funny gifs to end with.

when does it end

trash fail

santa durehnk

wrestlin

Nervous Knockout at Second Friday.

Every month our company has a gathering where a member from each department goes up and presents something of relevance to the entire company. This morning was this month’s gathering and I was chosen from Marketing to present. I had a ~4 minute presentation in front of my ~150 co-workers. Normally my manager would do this, but he asked if I would like to go this month because the topic he was going to speak about was more or less my area of expertise. I told him sure and drew up a power point presentation for today.

I knew exactly what I was going to say, I was confident my jokes would be a hit, and I knew that my content was relevant. I was actually excited. I woke up this morning, dressed nice, and went in ready to present.

I was set to go third and once I sat down in the big conference room, it started to hit me. When things got underway I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. Why was I so nervous? I was confident in everything leading up to it, but 5 minutes before I’m about to present I can barely speak or hear because my heart is pounding. Eleanor’s presentation wrapped up, I stood up and walked to the podium, and the presentation was underway.

email is an art
This was my final joke. I won’t explain the context (it would take too long) but this was a knock out.

I think it’s good to lead off with a joke to get everyone, including yourself, settled. My lead off joke was a zinger and instantly the whole room was laughing. Mentally this settled me down but physically I could feel my knees buckling and the sweat dripping from my armpits (ew).

Before I knew it, my four minutes was up. I executed everything cleanly and have received overwhelmingly positive reviews. All of my jokes went better than expected. I’m proud because I put a lot of effort into the power point and a lot of time into practicing (mostly while running, but that still counts).

My question is this, I was fully prepared and the end result was very positive. I even would have guessed beforehand that everything would have gone well. So how come I got so damn nervous? Leading in, I knew the presentation wasn’t a big deal and I knew I would be totally fine. However, I KNEW I was going to get nervous. My knees buckled and I had a stutter or two in there in a way that would never happen in normal conversation. I’m going to have to change my shirt at lunch time because I was sweating so much. From what I’ve heard, people couldn’t tell I was that nervous or anything, but I barely remember going up there.

Why does this happen? I consider myself an above average public speaker but when the time comes, I can’t help the fact that my heart pounds and I start to get a little nervous. Is it because I’m actually nervous that I won’t do well? I don’t think so. I knew I would do fine for this one. I think it’s because I have a preconceived notion that I should be nervous or that I’m going to get nervous. I sit there just before I’m about to go up saying “Don’t get nervous, don’t get nervous“. It’s like gym class swimming in 9th grade, I’d sit there and say “Don’t get a boner, don’t get a boner” which only increases your chances of getting one.

Once I get over this idea that I should be nervous, then I’ll be okay. But until then, all’s well that ends well.

External Reward = Internal Motivation

carlin care

I listened to Howard Stern interview Paul McCartney today while at work. One thing that struck me was this – Paul McCartney said that in the 60s, he read that The Who was producing the “dirtiest, grittiest, filthiest piece of music” and that he immediately went to the guys and basically said “Look, we need to do something too” and out came Helter Skelter which some people claim is the beginning of heavy metal music.

McCartney then said, with famous people in particular, they’re constantly looking around saying “Everybody else is busy doing better than me” (This is actually a lyric in his new album.).

This extends beyond just famous people, this extends to everyone. It’s not just about money, it’s about pride. They say that the motivation has to come from within. When you are taking something seriously, and you get wind of someone else attempting the same type of thing, you get scared that they might do it better. When I used to play Diablo with Ben and Alex, it was always an unspoken competition. We’d start new characters and when you logged on and saw that the other person was already on, you really hoped they weren’t too much higher a level than you. If they were, it was devastating.

When the Beatles hear that the Who are making a ‘heavy metal’ album, they’re motivated by pride, not money.

Today, Tom had a plethora of quality posts and posted his blog to Facebook. I’m sure he got a big spike in traffic. In one sense, an increase in traffic for Tom leads to an increase in traffic for me (referrals), this is a good thing. In another sense, Tom and I are both trying to achieve the same thing, blog traffic, so when I see he’s making good posts, it motivates me to try and create content in order to match his success because I don’t want people to think his blog is significantly better than mine.

Why is this the case? The motivation is internal, but it’s way more than that.? Obviously pride is internal, but do I want to equal Tom’s blog, or do the Beatles want to match the Who, because we want to prove to ourselves that we can do it? OR is it because we want the outside world to see that we’re just as good.

People like to walk around saying “I don’t care what other people think” but I don’t buy that. For example – I run because I like it and I want to run fast. Hypothetically, if I run a 2:30 marathon I would be extremely happy with myself. But I’d also pretty happy that my friends, family, co-workers, etc. would look at me and think “Wow, he’s a really good runner”. I wouldn’t want to keep that 2:30 to myself, I’d want everyone to know.

When Paul McCartney wrote Helter Skelter, he wanted the world to know that while the Who might release a “heavy metal” album, he could write something even better.

This idea that internal motivation is key is true, but internal motivation results in trying hard, which results in a high quality result, which results in praise. Praise is an absolutely key ingredient. If earning praise will result in internal motivation (aka you care what people think about you), then absolutely more power to you.

I don’t think there should be any shame in admitting that you care what people think.