Monday, October 31, 2011


The Seahawks are becoming increasingly frustrating to watch.  For starters, there has been so much roster churn over the last 2 years that there are fewer and fewer players who have been around long enough that I give a crap about them.  I have to wonder how big a negative impact that is having on jersey sales.  Why would you buy one when there's no telling who will be here from one year to the next.  More importantly, I'm really beginning to wonder if Pete Carroll and John Schneider have any idea what they're doing.  Winning cures a lot of things, and so I gave them the benefit of the doubt last year, but this year the team is performing worse than the much maligned team they took over a couple years ago. 

I will admit that I've been impressed with the performance of the defense, particularly since they spend 2/3 of every game on the field.  They could use some better pass rushing (I'm still bitter about not drafting Da'Quan Bowers), and Brandon Browner can't cover anyone without holding and bumping them all down the field, still, the defense has been impressive.  The offense, on the other hand, has been abysmal.  The running game is worse than ever, and the passing game is a joke.  I still can't wrap my mind around how, with better quarterbacks available, management brought in bad QBs two years in a row while vociferously proclaiming both saviors of the franchise.  Is their talent evaluation really that bad?  Worse than the average knucklehead on the internet who can't complete a sentence without attempting grammar genocide (see Field Gulls for examples of barely literate know it alls)?

More troubling, however, is the questionable play calling.  I don't know if it's a play calling issue or an execution issue, but it is really head scratching how we can have several talented ball catchers on the team - Mike Williams, Sidney Rice, and Zach Miller are all very productive but somehow we can't get them the ball.  And I can't, for the life of me, understand why we aren't throwing jump balls on short yardage plays.  Mike Williams is 6'5", Sidney Rice is 6'4", Kris Durham is 6'6", Zach Miller is 6'5", can you really tell me that we can't get a height mismatch with one of them if we put them all in?  And Kris Durham had a 35" vertical leap at the combine on top of the height!  Yet we haven't even tried it.  And Pete Carroll's propensity for head scratching play calls - like running a draw on 4th down with 14 seconds on the clock and no remaining time outs - continue to be a cause for concern.  In post game interviews he always makes comments about them being emotional calls.  Shouldn't a head coach be in control of his emotions enough to make logical calls?

Penalties and mental mistakes are signs of poor coaching, and both have been plentiful this season.  There were 5 or 6 false starts in Sunday's game against the Bengals, which is bad for an away game in a loud stadium but completely inexcusable at home.  And I thought the bone-headed personal fouls would stop after we traded Aaron Curry, but we still are giving away yards with Red Bryant head butting an opponent in front of a ref and Brandon Browner flipping Jerome Simpson - during a time out!  And I still can't figure out why there was so much pushing and shoving going on with the Bengals, we don't play them often enough for there to be any bad blood.  The Seahawks are just out of control right now.  After leading the team to a playoff win, I've been willing to give Pete Carroll a long leash, but I'm really beginning to question if he has what it takes to coach in the NFL. 

Finally, I was in attendance at Sunday's game and didn't get any kind of explanation why the Bengals didn't get the ball on the 1 yard line after Andy Dalton threw it at the ref in the second quarter.  I can't, for the life of me, figure out how that was not either a fumble or a backward pass, but for some inexplicable reason the Bengals ended up with the ball at the original line of scrimmage (somewhere around the 17 or 18 if memory serves me correctly).  For the love of God, can somebody explain to me what the hell happened?  Did the officials rule it a forward pass despite the fact that it unquestionably went backwards (several yards backward)? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dunbar's Number

I was reading about Dunbar's Number today which, briefly, is a number theorized by anthropologist Robin Dunbar which is the maximum number of people with which people can maintain a social relationship.  The theory is that the number of people that you can know on more than a superficial level is limited by the size of your neocortex, and that while the exact number is debated, the generally accepted value is 150.  That being said, I feel I've hit my quota and as a result will not be extending or accepting offers of friendship unless one of the following criteria is met:
  1. There is a loss of a current friend or acquaintance, thereby making room for a replacement.
  2. A birth or marriage involving someone who I’m not willing to sever a relationship with occurs, forcing me to accept a new individual.
  3. I meet a woman who is attractive enough that I would be foolish not to befriend her.
  4. Someone is extraordinary in some way, and a social relationship would add to my enjoyment of life.
Now should one of these conditions be met, I will need to re-evaluate my acquaintance structure to determine who should be released in order to make room for the newer and better talent.  Objective metrics have not yet been developed for this friendship evaluation, and based on my laziness, will not be developed until necessity forces me to. 

Ultimately, I feel that I will improve my quality of life and the quality of my social relationships by actively limiting the number of people I associate with and stratifying my friendship hierarchy.  And as always, bribes will effect the seeding of said friends.  As a point of reference, I would like to note that acceptable bribes include but are not limited to: bacon, tickets to sporting events, cash or liquid assets, electronics, vacation packages, etc. 

In conclusion, I didn't really plan this post out well and can't come up with a solid conclusion to wrap it all up, so I'm just going to stop and see how it turns out.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Word of the Day

Today's word of the day - 'snackify' - is brought to you by PepsiCo.  Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi recently stated, "We see the emerging opportunity to ‘snackify’ beverages and ‘drinkify’ snacks as the next frontier in food and beverage convenience."

Yes, the company is referring to taking snack foods and liquifying them so that you can drink them.  Sounds delicious, does it not?  This bold slaughter of the English language comes on the heels of the announcement of their new line of drinkable fruit purees.  Also mentioned are some drinkable yogurts, along with plans to mix in grains and nuts in future iterations. 

Lunch time is quickly approaching for me, so I'm going to wrap this up so that I can go do some serious snackification.  You can read more here.

*note - blogger's spell checker recognizes both snackify and drinkify as real words.  Yet somehow it still does not recognize internet as a real word. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Fighter

This weekend I watched The Fighter, a movie based on the real story of working class boxer Micky Ward and his struggles outside the ring with his family.  His overbearing mother wants to manage his career and does a poor job of it.  He has a crack addicted older brother who is in and out of jail whose claim to fame is having knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard before losing the bout on points.  His sisters hate his girlfriend and see her as coming between him and the family.  Through all this he questions his commitment to a career in boxing.

Mark Wahlberg plays Micky Ward and having grown up with a similar childhood, does an admirable job of portraying Micky.  He even does a respectable job of appearing like he can box.  Christian Bale steals the show, however as Dicky Eklund, the crack addict older brother.  Bale underwent a startling physical transformation for the role, looking gaunt and quite haggard.  I think I could take him in a boxing match though.  It is the relationship between the brothers that is the heart of the movie.  It's difficult to see the effect of drug addiction on a family. 

What I found most interesting was that Dicky proudly told everyone who would listen that he was the subject of an HBO documentary.  He tells everyone the subject is his comeback, but in reality the subject is crack addiction.  I managed to find the documentary online here, and while a nice addition to the film, it is heartbreaking to watch.

I recommend both the movie and the documentary.  Together they present a nice one, two punch.

Friday, October 14, 2011


The word on my word origins calendar yesterday was agritourism, which is a type of travel in which a visitor spends time on a farm to learn about the local agriculture. The calendar claims that it's wildly popular in Europe and gaining traction in the US. Other than the episode of the Office where Dwight was trying to turn his beet farm into a Bed & Breakfast, I've not heard of anyone in this country wanting to spend their vacation that way.

That said, I have an idea for a new form of tourism which I think will catch on quickly - agro-tourism. This is where a traveler goes to another city and flies into fits of uncontrollable rage. The thought being that it's better to vent your frustrations with life and the world somewhere other than where you live, thereby keeping your home town friendlier. We have already been shackled with the label of the ugly American so why not perpetuate that myth? It can't make things any worse.

*foot note - the Urban Dictionary defines agro as being angry or hostile for no reason. 

Friday, October 07, 2011

Rent Movies While They Are Still In Theaters

Would you like to be able to rent movies and watch them in the comfort of your own home while they are still in theaters?  Soon you will be able to if you are a Comcast customer.  Sounds great, doesn't it?  Only until you see the $60 price tag.  After I stopped laughing, I realized that for large families this might be a financially viable option, but for most people the concept is ridiculous. 

The theater experience isn't very enjoyable for me since I've officially become a grumpy old man.  Frequently the picture quality isn't as good as on my TV at home, and dealing with the hassle of other people talking and making noise during the movie, or pulling out their phone and sending text messages (they may as well be turning on a flashlight) is irritating.  So for the right price I'd like to watch movies at home, however that amount is significantly less than the asking price.  I'm not sure I'd pay $10.  Then again I'm surprised that there are people that fork over the $5-$7 currently being charged for On Demand movies, yet the price remains so some people must be paying it.  I'm interested to see how long this experiment lasts. 

Chicken McNuggets

About 20 years ago I swore off chicken mcnuggets for good.  Every time I ate them I felt bad afterward, not to mention they didn't really taste very good.  As a matter of fact, I got some for lunch one day and said a quick prayer before digging in, "Dear God, please don't let these kill me."  I proceeded to bite into one only to discover that it was a chunk of breaded fat.  I couldn't find any actual meat in it.  That's what caused me to swear them off forever. 

Some of you may have already guessed where this is going, and you're right.  I took my life into my hands yesterday and strolled down to the ghetto McDonalds on 3rd & Pike.  Luckily I didn't see any drug deals or police activity, nor was I harrassed by the Scientologist next door.  It wasn't all good news, though, the creepy cross dresser was working that day.  But I digress.  I went there with the best of intentions - to get a nice healthy grilled chicken bacon ranch salad.  That's when I fell victim to marketing.  I saw the huge sign saying that 20 piece mcnuggets were only $5 and thought, what the hell.  Obviously they didn't kill me, and I'm happy to report no ill effects to my digestive system.  And I'm happy to report that the chicken to mystery ingredient ratio has improved drastically.  However I was reminded that they still don't taste very good and I can now go another 20 years without eating them. 

Now that I've conquored that fear, Kentucky Fried Chicken - or KFC as they now refer to themselves since the presence of actual chicken in their food is questionable - is trying to lure me back.  That's another place that I only visit every 3-4 years as that is the approximate amount of time required for me to forget how unbelievably greasy their chicken is.  But they keep advertising 4 extra pieces of chicken free in their buckets, and I struggle to resist the lure of free food.  Since I have been there within the last year to try the infamous Double Down, however, I may have been there too recently to fall for it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

No Place Like Dome

I don't know why, but as a kid I always wanted to live in a geodesic dome. Now that I'm all growed up, they seem wildly impractical. There ia very little, if any curved back furniture so furnishing one would be problematic unless you only placed things up against interior walls. Still, I see one right next to 520 in Clyde Hill on a daily basis and there are still days when I would at least like a tour.

*Edited to add pictures for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Last night I sat down to watch The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.  It's a documentary about product placement, marketing and advertising.  Completely funded by product placement, marketing and advertising. 

Let me start by saying that I find the concept completely brilliant, but I've seen brilliant concepts before that failed miserably in execution.  Fortunately Morgan Spurlock, best known for Supersize me, followed through here.  He begins with a discussion and demonstration of how product placement deals are made, allowing the viewer to sit in on negotiations with ad execs.  I found this particularly interesting, notably the reluctance of any companies to sign a deal until some other companies are on board first, as well as the concern as to how their brand would be portrayed.  Many marketers seemed overly concerned that Morgan would make the company look bad, despite the fact that they would be paying his salary.

In the second act, the documentary moves on to a discussion of the ubiquity of advertising in society, it's psychological effect, and it's effectiveness.  One marketing firm went so far as to administer MRIs to subject while showing them various ads in order to view the effects on the brain.  I had no idea that so much effort went into selling me products.

What really made this movie most enjoyable, though, was Morgan Spurlock's humor.  Even during negotiations he wasn't afraid to crack jokes and keep things light.  It was laugh out loud funny at times and contained more humor than a lot of comedies.  It is well worth an hour and a half of your time. 

In the extras on the DVD, Morgan Spurlock asked a lot of people what their favorite commercial of all time was.  Some people mentioned the famous Apple 1984 ad.  Others the Coke ad where Mean Joe Green gives a kid his jersey.  Others the Wendy's 'where's the beef' ads.  For me, however, hands down the best commercial ever made was the Tivo ad starring Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott.  I still use the phrase 'boy howdy' from time to time as a result.