Saturday, February 25, 2012

Visual Studio 2012 drops on Leap-Day, Feb 29

I haven't blogged much in the past several years about my chosen profession as a software developer.  Today, I will.

I am a Microsoft .NET developer.  As such, it was big news for me {this past week} when Microsoft announced they would drop the newest revision of Visual Studio (2012 aka 11) On Wednesday, Feb 29 2012.  This going to come replete with the .NET 4.5 Framework, and the Entity Framework 5.0 built in.  The beta of ASP.NET MVC 4 was released several days ago, and it is also supposed to be built into .NET 4.5 framework.

For me, the .NET 4 framework was a snoozer.  The performance hit this version of the framework foisted upon us nullified any of the benefits it purportedly gave us.  Nothing about .NET 4 was compelling enough to make me want to accept the big slow-down in performance .  For the most part, I continued using the .NET 3.51 client framework in 64 bit mode.  This was the sweet-spot for high-performance data processing in an highly-automated environment like the one I work in.  A multi-threaded console application written in the .NET 3.51 framework, NGEN'ed for x64 processors, can process and transform millions of rows of financial records in very little time.

Most programmers just don't care about performance hits.  We just want to use the latest thing, so we can say we are state-of-the-art.  We are often content to throw away processing power for no good reason.  Most programmers don't think in financial terms about their code.  We are not good about evaluating the cost implications of the slow-downs we gladly accept.

Consider the following example.  A Microsoft blogger recently bragged on the performance improvements Entity Framework 5.0 would bring to the table.  He published performance test-data that indicated that UPON SECOND EXECUTION, EF5 would execute a transaction 400% slower than ADO.NET, whereas EF4.3 would execute it 2,300% slower than ADO.NET.  On first execution, EF5 is also 2,300% slower than ADO.NET.

These findings were advertised as a magnificent 600% speed up.  We were supposed to applaud.  We were supposed to smile as we learned that we would get this marvelous speedup for free when we upgraded to .NET 4.5.

So, I am to applaud when I discover that my transactional operations will performance a mere 400% slower under EF5 than they would if I wrote some better code.  It is better code, just to make sure you understand that.  It's not worse.  It's 400% better.  Better is as better does.

The real take home story of this blog post is that I will cut the carrying capacity of my enterprise servers by 75% if I accept the 400% slow-down that Entity Framework brings to the table.  Stated more precisely, I will need to buy 400% more servers (or virtual cloud capacity) in order to meet my needs if I fuck around with the Entity Framework.  This should come at something like a 400% increase in cost right?

Let's see... that would make me a fucking stupid bastard wouldn't it?  Waaahhhh...?  I am a stupid goddamn bastard if I fuck around with the Entity Framework, aren't I?  If I throw away 75% of my server's capacity and increase my costs 400% just so I can say I use the latest wiz-bang crap from Microsoft, I am a stupid bastard, aren't I?

There are a few non-lemmings like me around out there in the world.  We have been banging on Microsoft about these logical and financial problems.  When confronted with the facts found in their own publications, Microsoft ambassadors quickly fold over, admit that they have performance issues, and say that they aren't done tuning their code yet.  They promise us that big performance gains are still in the offing.  They are working on it.

They say we will be pleasantly surprised when we test the performance of the final goods.

What does this mean?  Perhaps they can get the performance hit down to 2:1?  Perhaps we will only throw away 50% of our server capacity and double our costs when the final edition is shipped?  Probably too good to be true.  I doubt the performance/cost picture will be that good when the final facts are published.

2012 is the year when I get serious about launching my own smart-phone web-enterprise.  You know I am working on a Synastry Engine right now, and I will need web-services to deliver the info to both phone-clients, web-customers, and potential partners.

If the objective is to make money, if the objective is to make a living, if the objective is to stay alive, I will need to think in economic terms about my code.  The entire structure and nature of my software project has to engineered in such a way as to maximize carrying capacity and minimize costs.  When writing code, I do so according to the same motto uses:  Be fast at any cost.  I don't care how hard the code is to write, if it performs faster, it is better code.  If it increases my carrying capacity, and reduces my costs, it is better code.

Such differentials will make the difference between life and death, if I am not doing well financially.  It will also make the difference between life and death if my project takes-off, and becomes the next big thing in the web world.  People don't understand the immediate survival problems over-night sensations experience when hundreds of thousands of new users begin to hit your web-apps every single day.  In this situation, carrying capacity is stretched to the utter limit.  You'll wish you had written leaner and meaner code if this ever happens to you.

It could make the difference between being able to self-finance and being forced to sell my asshole to investors.

Visual Studio 11 drops on Wednesday Feb 29, one day after I have surgery on my left hand.  I am going to have a bit of time-off for recovery.  I intend to play with this new system whilst I recover.  I won't be able to write new code, but I will be able to click the mouse and recompile old-projects under the new framework.  I will be able to benchmark how fast the new system works.

I suspect it will be a lot slower.  I hope it will be a lot faster.  I won't use it unless it is faster and more efficient.  You won't get my vote unless you improve my performance/cost profile.

Back to the combine! It's better than Christmas!

Last Thursday night's NFL Total Access was our first broadcast from combine in Indianapolis.  That is a significant significator.  It's the official start of the NFL draft season.  It's the unofficial start of the NFL business season also.

Love it!

I was pretty excited when I saw that the gang had been fully reassembled:  Mike Mayock, Charley Casserly, Charles Davis, Mike Lombardi, et al.  We'll be seeing Bucky Brooks and Corey Chavis soon also, I am sure.  I had heard rumors that Charley Casserly had signed exclusively with CBS Sports, and I was worried we wouldn't be seeing him on the NFL Network this year.  It is a good thing that rumor was false.  It wouldn't be the same without him.

It is so damn good to see you guys again!  You have no idea.  I was going to blog on this subject Thursday night, but I was a little preoccupied with prep for my next surgery on Feb 28, and a number of other mundane household subjects.

Sometimes I get a good feeling.  I get a feeling that I never, never, never had before.  I gotta feeling that this is going to be a really good draft.  The crop looks bountiful.  The crop looks good.  I am confident that we have some franchise changing players scattered across the top of this draft.  I am sure some of these kids will make it to the Hall of Fame.  It won't surprise me when they do.

Last year I complained bitterly about the poor quality of the seniors, the QBs and the offensive linemen.  I didn't like the Linebackers either.  Von Miller was the sole exception, and one of the three most exciting players in the Draft last year.

2011 was a poor draft year.  This is not the case in 2012.  This is a PH PHAT draft class.  The prospects look damn good to me thus far.  I am excited.

Speaking of Charley, he had the first Mock draft of the combine last night, and I think he pretty well nailed it.  Charley's list looked like this

  1. Colts:  Andrew Luck QB Stanford
  2. Browns (from Rams):  Robert Griffin III QB Baylor
  3. Vikings:  Matt Kalil OLT USC 
  4. Rams (from Browns): Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State
  5. Bucs:  Trent Richardson RB Alabama
  6. Redskins:  Morris Claiborne CB LSU
  7. Jaguars: Quinton Coples DE UNC
  8. Dolphins:  Riley Reiff OT Iowa
  9. Panthers:  Michael Brockers DT LSU
  10. Bills:  Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama
Most of the others felt he nailed it too.  The most critical critique came from Coach Brian Billick, who said "Charley's got 9 out of the top 10 players, and 6 in the right spot, so he's only wrong by 4.  That's pretty good!"

I would say it's probably a little more accurate than that.   What are the points of disputation here?  I think they are as follows:
  1. The Redskins won't take Morris Claiborne
  2. The Bucs will take Morris Claiborne one spot earlier
  3. The Bucs won't take Trent Richardson. They already have a damn good power-back in LeGarrette Blount.
  4. The Redskins won't go quietly into the good night without a QB in this draft.  Rumor has it that they are adamant about getting Robert Griffin III.  Charley is presuming the Rams will chose to drop back just a couple of steps to gain some extra picks and still get our man (Justin Blackmon) a little bit cheaper.  I think that's a pretty good guess.  I can't see our team passing on some extra picks, but we won't want to lose Justin Blackmon either.  Most believe we would be reaching for him at the #2 pick, based on our critical need.  This is probably and accurate assessment of the situation.
  5. It is questionable whether the Dolphins would take another tackle so high in the draft when they already have the best OLT in all of football.  Riley Reiff would be relegated to right tackle duties, and generally, you don't take a right tackle so high.  Charley has said this himself.  I do understand the logic, though. Riley Reiff would seem to be the perfect bookend companion and counterpart to Jake Long.  If you get Peyton Manning in Miami, you might want to make this pick.  It will be a very tempting choice if Manning comes to town.
  6. Some would dispute the Bills taking Courtney Upshaw, but the more I think about it, the more I think it is the perfect fit.  The Bills play a 3-4 defense and they need a pass-rushing elephant linebacker.  There is none better in 2012 draft than Courtney Upshaw.  He is an ideal choice for their needs and scheme.  Call me foolish, call me irresponsible, call me a dreamer, but I think he would go great with Marcell Dareus.  Wait... hasn't that been tried?  Did that workout once before?
  7. Many of us are still questioning whether Trent Richardson will wind up going so high in the draft.  It's not that he's unworthy of the pick, he is a very worthy dude, but rather the fact that the RB position is so deeply deprecated in the modern NFL.  Most GMs just don't believe that you take an RB so high in the draft.  As always, it will only take one GM to make it happen, tho.
I look forward to many more of these blog posts as the Draft season continues.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The hottest damn chili peppers the world has ever known

Anyone who reads this blog knows I have more than a casual interest in culinary things.  One of those culinary things involves spicy foods.  I like cooking with chilies.  I like Jamacan Jerk Chicken.  I like Red Beans and rice.  I love Chicken Gumbo.  I use real 90,000 cu Cayenne pepper.  I like hot sauce.  I like habenero pepper jack cheese.  I don't like jalapeno peppers, but this is mostly because they are weak and their flavor is terrible.  Give me the Habenero.

The chemical burn of the chili is measured in Scoville Units.  The Scoville scale is a measure of how many grams of water it takes to wash out 100% of the Capsaicin found in the chili you are testing.  The more Capsaicin, the more water it will take to eliminate it.  The more Capsaicin, the hotter the burn.

A few years ago, I blogged about my efforts to grow the infamous Ghost Chili, AKA the Bhut Jolokia.  I was unsuccessful.  My pepper crop failed.  I was very disappointed.  At the time, the Ghost Chili was the undisputed world's heavyweight champion of hot chili peppers.  It's devastating stuff too, according to all reports.

How devastating is the Ghost Chili?  Just to give you an idea, a typical Jalapeno will score about 1,000 SU on the Scoville Scale.  Because of tremendous quality control problems, some Jalapeno will go as high as 5,000 SU {which is another great reason to avoid using this lousy chili}.

This is nothing in comparison to the Ghost Chili.  The Ghost Chili will typically score about 1,000,000 on the Scoville scale.  That is three orders of magnitude higher.  We're talking about a 1,000:1 increase in power.

This means you would need 1,000 Jalapeno pepper to equal just 1 Ghost chili.  It only takes 100 Habenero peppers to equal a single Ghost, but that is no comforting thought to most of you.  Most of you would go white with terror over the thought to putting 100 Habenero peppers in a pot of soup.  You would be doing something like that if you dropped a single Ghost chili in your stew.

Unfortunately for the Ghost Chili, the old king is dead.  Long live the new king. Early last week, the L.A. Times broke the story that a new king had been crowned.  The new boss is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.  The Scorpion is properly named, as this evil bastard is pure poison.  It is 20% more powerful than the old king, pepper for pepper, ounce for ounce.  The old boy routinely scored 1,000,000.  The new kid scores 1,200,000 Scoville Units.

The good news is that the Scorpion is said to have a wonderful flavor.  We are told that when when the Scorpion is properly diluted in a sauce, you get a salsa so delicious and addictive, you just can't stop eating it.  Some authorities are already confidently predicting that the next ICS Chili champion will probably make use of the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.

You are fucking around with pure hell though.  Be careful.  I know.  I have already obtained my supply.  We've had two very fun-filled days with the stuff at work.  Most of us have given it a try, and the results are hilarious.  This is fun-filled return to the days of high school and college.  It's been more fun that a barrel full of monkeys loaded with MDNA.

I have sampled the goods.  The aroma is overwhelming.  It's almost like getting a whiff of smelling salts.  The ground chili powder made from the Scorpion will clear your sinuses.  Just a few grains on your pinky will light-up your entire mouth.  Two doses will cause sweat to break out on your forehead and upper lip.  The flavor is decent.  It will be better when mixed with real food.

The funny thing is how many smiles and laughs break out afterwards.  Believe me, it's not a miserable experience.  Scientific rumor has it that human beings enjoy Capsaicin because it inflames the pleasure centers of the limbic system in the brain.  There is a true pleasure in this stuff.

This is the shit, jack!  I'm not bullshitting you:  I don't think you will ever find anything hotter than this stuff, and it is fun too!  It makes Cayenne seem trivial in comparison.  Nothing on God's Earth that blocks or tackles or runs or throws can compete with this thing.  This is devastating.

I plan to use this in a Mac-N-Cheese this weekend.  I am going to dilute a few sprinkles of Scorpion powder in 24 ounces of milk, and 16 ounces of cheese.  This should be sufficient to make the burn tolerable.  I am still expecting a hot Mac.

Next, I will make Red Beans and Rice.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Virgo-Pisces Alliance 229: Sir Francis Drake & Elizabeth I

So, last night I finally caught Elizabeth, the 1998 masterpiece that introduced Cate Blanchett to the world.  As you may know, this is about the early days of Queen Elizabeth I, when she was besieged by treasonous plotters orchestrated by the Pope of Rome.

The way the movie presents the story, she has powerful enemies all around her, including her personal favorites...  Even the man she would marry... if she could.  One dude steps up to the plate, in the darkest hour, and saves her ass.  This guy literally kills for her.  Ultimately, he knocks out all of her enemies.  That guy was Sir Francis Drake.

Drake's motivation was the puzzle that caused me to look all this up.  Here we found a dirty privateer, a grungy and dirty guy of the world, seemingly capable of anything.  For some reason, he takes a hard stand against all of the other worldly and dirty guys of the world... for a woman he's not banging.  Why did he do it?  Why would Drake take such a mortal gamble against all the powerful players?  The movie seems to portray Drake's stand as an irrational act of personal loyalty.

It wasn't blind loyalty either.  He knew the risk he was taking.  He took it despite the lousy odds.  This seemed very strange to me.

Well folks... I want you to look this one up yourself and find out if I tell you the truth.  Queen Elizabeth I was a September 7 Virgo.  In the movie, she's played by Cate Blanchett: a May 14 Taurus.  We do not know the exact date of Sir Francis Drake's birth, but they place the date in late February or Early March.   You know what that means, don't you?  He was a Pisces.  In the movie, he's played by Geoffrey Rush: a July 6 Cancer.

Yes, this famous chapter of Brittish history is another 180 degree tale for you.  It's another chapter in the history of the Virgo-Pisces Alliance.

Elizabeth was also known as a the Virgin Queen.  She entertained several suitors, but couldn't have the one she wanted, so she never married.  If you can't be with the one you love, you're better off with none.  That's very Virgo.  I am like that.

Sir Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was her favorite dude in the world.  He happened to be a June 24 Cancer guy.  According to the movie, Sir Robert was involved in plots to overthrow Elizabeth, but she wouldn't kill him.  Drake wanted to kill him.  Even in a blood-feud, she couldn't pull the trigger on the water guy.  She found a way to spare her Cancer guy.

It's worth noting that a certain Taurus dude named William Shakespeare prospered under Elizabeth.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Another 180 degree tale for you today

So I just finished watching an episode of Ancients Behaving Badly, the series that studies many of the great figures of history as criminal psychopaths.  In the end, the show attempts to rate each on of the episode subjects on a scale of criminal psychopathy.

I'm a big fan of this show.  This is the show that teaches us that most of the great figures of history are worthy of our scorn, not hero worship.  They are blood-thirsty megalomaniacs, for the most part.

This episode was about Cleopatra.  It was quite fascinating.   Boy was she one for the record books!  What an eye-opener.  This woman quite literally killed all her brothers & sisters to ensure her firm grip on control of the throne of Egypt.

Of course, sex and seduction are the heart of Cleopatra's tale.  She seduces a 52 year old Julius Caesar, when she is a mere 18 year old nymph.   Later, at the age of 28, she seduces his successor, the 42 year old Mark Antony.  All reports indicate that they had a blistering sexual firestorm for the ages.  It was not just political, in their case.  There was a sexual meltdown in progress there also.

Naturally, this made me curious about the synastry of the situation.  As a dedicated investigator, I wanted to see what I could find out about the situation.  The facts of the case are these:

  1. Cleopatra's birth date is not known.  We do not know the month either.  This is despite spurious sources who claim she was born in January.  No ancient sources support this claim.
  2. Julius Caesar 's deification celebration was reportedly set for his birthday, and this festival was routinely celebrated on July 12.  This would make his birthday July 12, 100 B.C., making him a Cancer.  That's a fine Cardinal sign for a Roman Emperor.  There is some uncertainty about his birth, but such is the case for all ancient figures.
  3. Mark Antony's birthday stands pretty well confirmed.  It is set for January 14, 83 B.C., making Mark a Capricorn.
  4. Mark Antony was always a steadfast ally and close friend of Julius Caesar.  This is how he became a member of the Triumvirate after the assassination of Caesar.
  5. What a co-inky-dinky!  Julius and Mark just happen to be 180 degree opposites!  January 14 is 182 days after July 12.  182 is pretty dang close to the magic figure of 182.625.
So, for a dude interested in Synastry and the sex of the situation, we just need to guess what sign is mostly likely to set both a Cancer and a Capricorn on fire.  That's not hard to reckon either.  These 180 degree opposites are quite likely to have similar tastes and preferences.  There are two obvious choices:  Taurus and Scorpio.

Why do I say that?  First, Taurus and Scorpio are both well-aspected towards both Cancer and Capricorn; especially in a sexual sense.

Second, Cleopatra was a notorious nymphomaniac.  She had a sex drive that just wouldn't quit.  There are rumors that she once took on 100 men in a gang-bang, just to see if she could do it.  The legend has it that she succeeded.  You are probably going to need to come equipped with the highest of all sex drives if you intend to do something like that.

All sources agree that, on average, Taurus and Scorpio have the two highest sex drives of the Zodiac.  The majority report says Scorpio has the highest of all sex drives.  The minority report states Taurus has the highest sex-drive.  I side with the majority on this issue.  It's Scorpio.

I am going to have argue that Cleopatra was a Scorpio.  Her tendency to use her sexuality for the political cause rivals that of James Bond.  We all know that he was a Scorpio.  {You know that right?}

Further, this is a pretty evil and violent figure.  Call me foolish, call me irresponsible, call me a myopic Virgo dude, but this doesn't fit the profile of Taurus as I know them.  Taurus, ruled by Venus, is a very soft sign for a female.  They are known for the gentility, patients and aesthetics.  I find it hard to believe a Taurus woman could do the things reported of Cleopatra.  My gut says no.

On the other hand, Scorpio is ruled by Mars and Pluto... this is a poisonous little critter of a different order entirely.  I do not find it difficult to believe a Scorpio woman could do the things done by Cleopatra.  On the contrary, I think it is totally possible for a Scorpio woman to do these things.  Maybe even likely.

Of course, Adolf Hitler was a Taurus, but this is a pretty singular exception.

We can go further.  Scorpio has a tremendous desire for dominance and control.  According to many sources, Scorpio women are attracted to men based on their power levels.  They like to borrow power from the guy they are with and exercise control in his name.  Believe me, I have first hand knowledge of this situation.  I have seen it in action, day after day.

This pattern fits Cleopatra to a 'T'.  Cleopatra specifically goes after Julius Caesar and Mark Antony precisely because she sees them as the most powerful allies she can have.  She sees them as a the assurance of her control over Egypt.  She sees them as increasing her power-base, not diminishing it.

Many feminists studies have been done on Cleopatra's behavior, and they routinely lament the fact that this women did not believe she could stand on her own.  Rather, she felt she had to partner with a powerful man in order to secure and retain power herself.  This is quite accurate, and it was also probably necessary at the time.  However, it also fits the Scorpio woman's profile perfectly.

I find all this extremely interesting, and even more pitiful.  Mark Antony was probably a good Capricorn brother before this evil Scorpio bitch got ahold of him.  What a shame!  You know... I know of a Capricorn brother being destroyed in just this way...  It's in progress.  I can't save him from this fatal monster.  She's gonna wreck him.


An interesting note about synastry

As you know, I experienced one heck of a synastry reaction with Rihanna's back-up singer, Ashley Haney, just a couple of days ago.  I went looking around for her birthday information.  I found nothing certain, but I found some fascinating clues.

I found two "happy birthday" videos dedicated to Ashley Haney uploaded to the Youtube.  One was dated September 1, 2010.  The other was dated August 14, 2011.  Logically speaking, her birthday must be bracketed by 8/14 and 9/1.  As you know, I was born September 2.  If my analysis is correct, this makes Ashley my home-girl.  She's a summer time girl from around the way in my hood.  She is almost equally likely to be a Leo or a Virgo by date-space:  9 days of Leo, 8 days of Virgo.  Under the side-real, she's all Leo, but then again, so am I.

There are a couple of very quick lessons to take out of this:

  1. Conjunction is a very powerful thing, if she is a Virgo.  Conjunction is a very powerful thing, if she's a Leo and I am a Leo.
  2. If she is a Leo, what is it 'bout 'dem Leo girls and your author...?  I seem to have made a deal in the Akashic Record Library in which I swapped Taurus for Leo.
  3. Rihanna was born 2/20/1988.  Tomorrow is her birthday.  There are 175 days between August 14 and Feb 20.  175 is pretty dang close to 182.625.  These two are pretty dang close to that magical 180 degree Yin/Yang angle I keep harping about.
  4. Don't you find it a bit curious Rihanna would chose a 180 degree angle girl for her back-up singer?  Would this not fit the theory perfectly?
  5. This seems to be a feather in the cap of the Side-Real or Jyotish camp.  The Vedic Astrologer has an easier time explaining Ashley's effect on me, and her partnership with Rihanna at the same time.  Under the Jyotish scheme, Ashley is a Leo, and I am a Leo (conjunction).  Under the Jyotish scheme, Ashley is a Leo and Rihanna is an Aquarian (opposition).  Pretty parsimonious.
  6. Under the Tropical scheme, Ashley is probably a Leo, whilst I am a Virgo and Rihanna is a Pisces.  Leo is not especially fantastic with either Virgo or Pisces, on average.  Under the Tropical scheme, both Rihanna and I would have considerable quantities of fire in our charts, ergo it could work.  Nevertheless, this scheme requires access to a lot more variables to make it all make sense.  This is not parsimonious.
  7. The principle of parsimony is pretty simple.  If two theories have equal explanatory power and accuracy, the simpler theory is the better theory.  The Jyotish system seems to enjoy the lead in parsimony here.
  8. In short, the final lesson emerging from all of this is that conjunction and opposition are the two most powerful aspects in the system.  Everything else is weaker.
Who knows... maybe I love them Leo girls and they love me because I am one of them.  Perhaps the Jyotish Side-Real system is the correct system.

This still leaves open the difficult question of why Taurus women don't seem to like me.  Under the Jyotish system, many of these women would become Aries, and some would become Pisces.  We would expect the Jyotish Pisces to be disinterested (or even afraid) or the Jyotish Leo.  However, we would expect the Jyotish Aries to very attracted to the Jyotish Leo.

I have not found it to be so.  I have found that there are plenty of girls born 182.625 days away from me who don't give a damn about me.  They are Jyotish war goddesses.  Some of them should love a Jyotish fire-lion.  I need to decode this riddle.  The puzzle bothers me.

The end of Carpal Tunnel: Time for more surgery.

If I had died at the age of 41, I would have died with just one surgery on my record.  That was a  tonsillectomy that took place when I was about 6 or 7 years old.  That's even more interesting given the fact that most doctors consider  the tonsillectomy an unnecessary procedure in this day and age.  It's an artifact of a bygone era, and a mistaken approach of an archaic past.

As it happened, I lived past age 41, and I have had 3 surgeries in the past 3 years.  Really, it's more like 3 surgeries in the past 26 calendar months.  I've had both knees done, and the gastric bypass.

Guess what?  It's time for more.  Surgery number 4 & 5 are on tap over the next two months.  Dr. Eli Ziv, a buddy and partner of Dr. Bachner, will be cutting into the palms of my hands.  I was supposed to contact that surgical scheduler Friday to set the date for my right hand.  I hesitated.  I'll get to him Monday.  We'll get the left hand next...  Dr. Ziv is the hand specialist in the orthopedic surgery group Bachner is partnered with.  His mother-in-law also happens to work for my company.

I am a little queezey, but grateful.  This will be the end of the Carpal Tunnel that's (1) holding me back and (2) driving me crazy.  Although I detest going under the knife again, this syndrome can't end soon enough.  The sooner the better.

So just what is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), and how do you fix it surgically?  First, CTS is not tendinitis created by typing all-day-long.  To be frank, it's not even a repetitive stress injury.  Incompetent doctors of the 1990s characterized it as such when it was a very trendy diagnosis in the new era of info-tech employees.

True CTS occurs when the transverse carpal ligament in the palm of your hands grow stronger, larger, heavier, or inflamed.  When this occurs, the ligament applies a crushing pressure on the median nerve that runs along the Carpal tunnel of the wrist.  This crushing pressure effectively cuts off the electrical signal from the brain to portions of the hand.  The solution is to surgically bisect the transverse carpal ligament.  Cut in half, the transverse carpal ligament can no longer apply a crushing pressure to the carpal tunnel or the median nerve.  The condition is eliminated.

So you slash a tendon, leave it slashed in half, and you release the pressure.  Whooooooaaaaa!  Slashing tendons permanently?  Isn't that going to cripple your hands?

Nope.  It turns out that the transverse carpal ligament is an evolutionary vestige of biological epochs long gone.  It is just like the appendix in your intestines.  It now serves no purpose.  Anthropologists, of whom I am one, believe that this vestige was once used by human ancestors who walked on all fours, on the palms of their hands.  The transverse carpal ligament helps the palm of the hand function better as a heel, but not much in this day and age.  It has degenerated considerably.

Ergo, you can slash it without any long-term ill-effects.  In the short-run it hurts like a sonofabitch.  More hydrocodone.

When Doctor Ziv explained all this to me, my natural response was "Well shit, Doc!  You shouldn't have told me that!  I have a perfectly good Spyderco ZDP-189 knife right here in my pocket.  I'll fix that nasty transverse carpal ligament right here, right now.  I am DIY guy!"

Nah!  Just kidding.

So the question remains:  how in the world does the transverse carpal ligament grow strong, heavier, swollen, or inflamed? How the hell does any tendon grow thicker and stronger?  Through exercise and heavy use, that's how.

Who knows what it was in my case.  Was it the shake weight?  Was it the kettlebells?  Was it push-ups and pull-ups?  Was it the ROM?  Was it Elliptical Cross Trainer?  Was it Olympic Rowing?  In sooth, I shall never know.  The key point is that I subjected myself to a vast array of exercises over the 10 months prior to the eruption of this problem, and all of them could have contributed to the strengthening of this ligament.

Dr. Ziv also mentioned that hormonal changes could contribute to the thickening and strengthening of this ligament.  What hormonal changes?  To the best of my knowledge, ligaments and tendons only respond strongly to one hormone:  HGH, human growth hormone.  This is released in great quantities during weight loss, and body building.  Many of the substances I use promote the release of HGH.  I am sure that the quasi-natural supply of HGH in my body is way higher now than it was 1 year ago.  This is why I am doing the Benjamin Button thing.  HGH is the key hormone in age-reversal.

Unfortunately, even this blessed condition can have unwanted side-effects.  I hit the Jack-Pot again.  This means I get to have surgeries #4 and #5.  Shit...

In verity and sooth, this isn't all that bad.  Dr. Ziv says that there is only about a 5% chance that the transverse carpal ligament can regenerate, and the CTS re-appear.  There is a 95% chance that he will slash my wrist, and I will never be bothered by this condition for the rest of my life.  When you think about all that I have gained (and lost) in the past year, this isn't such a high price to pay.  It could have been dramatically worse.

If everything works out for me, this will be a one-time-only fix, and I can go on about my business.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Meet ashley Haney, Rihanna's backup singer

Check out this live performance of Rihanna's "Rude Boy"

So I stumbled across this live performance of Rihanna's "Rude Boy" whilst playing around with my new Android phone.  For about the first 20 seconds, I didn't like the more rock-n-roll revision they did here.  Then it hit me.  I love it.  I think I love it even more than the original studio track.  Believe me, that's saying an awful lot.  I am a major addict when it comes to the original studio track.

And just who is that back-up singer in at the rear/right there?  She is driving me absolutely nuts!  You want to talk about a major synastry reaction!  Jesus!  She looks French, and I bet she's a water sign.  I bet Rihanna has a bunch of water sign girlfriends (just like Katy Perry) hanging around with her.  If you want to know the phenotype most likely to drive me beserk just do a freeze frame on that backup singer on the rear right.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The absolutely worthless astrology apps that are about to die a pigs death

Well, I lost my cell phone this past week, I put in an insurance claim, and was shipped a replacement.  The recovery of my account information was extremely smooth.  Gmail and Facebook reloaded all my contacts.   My Amazon cloud player kept my music for me.

I lost nothing but a series of worthless apps (like Zoosk) that I would liked to have uninstalled anyhow.  This allowed me to start fresh and download a bunch of new apps.  For the first time, I decided to take a look at some of the apps that will be my competitors in the future.

I tested several of them with some well-known, and well understood birthdays.  These are birthdays of women I am extremely attracted to and who have outstanding chart-for-chart compatibility with me.  The results were hysterical.  The results were disgusting.  I laughed until I puked.

I'll tell you what bucko, I were one of you fools selling these applets, I would be shitting my pants with fear right about now.  A 200 ton gorilla is getting ready to jump down on your head and beat you to death.  You'll never know what hit you.  One-shot, one kill.  It's going to be like taking candy from a baby.  You can't cover me in a million years.  You got no chance of survival.  Dead meat.

So just what is wrong with these little astrology applets that say they can compute your compatibility?

  1. They don't calculate a natal chart
  2. They don't exhaustively compare planetary angles.
  3. They don't compute houses
  4. They don't arrange you planets in her houses, or her planets in your houses
  5. There is no scoring system for aspects
  6. There is no scoring system for houses.
  7. What they do is an ultra-crass comparison of Sun signs, disregarding all else.
  8. Some drag an arcane an unexplained version of numerology into the mix
  9. Some drag a very limited Chinese Astrology into the mix.  If it were a full version, this would not be a bad thing.
The results of these piss-poor methods are hilarious.  I'll give you just one example:  I am told that I will certainly have a love at first sight experience with all Taurus females and males.  I can assure you, this is not correct.  I do like my share of Taurus females, but not all of them set my heart a flutter.  I tried 100+ Taurus dates and got the same "Love at first sight" boiler plate text every time.  I can go further still.  Of all the signs who should love me the most, Taurus loves me the least.  I get less interest from these women than any other sign.  If they like me, they like me faintly.  I have to say, I feel mighty damn rejected by the Taurus clan.

Much of the information is also flat-wrong according to the doctrines of Astrology.  For instance, I tried about 20 Pisces dates versus my own B-Day.  In every case, I got the same identical boiler-plate text.  This text claimed the relationship would fail, as the sexually conservative Virgo would not be able to fulfill the unlimited sexual desires of the Pisces.  We all know that Virgo is one of the top two mates for Pisces.  There are millions of Pisces-Virgo marriages out there doing just fine.  My brother doesn't seem to think his Virgo woman is particularly conservative.

Another hilarious boiler-plate text declared that in business relations, Virgos should not work with Capricorns.  A Capricorn boss brings out the rebellious nature in a Virgo.  {That's not true unless an evil Scorpion bitch gets into the mix.}  The fact is that these are legendary business partners.  Even when the relationship is somewhat afflicted, such as Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, you still wind up winning.  Don Shula and Dan Marino didn't have problems.  I realize coach Coughlin is the Virgo and Eli is the Capricorn, but this only proves it works in the other direction as well. 

Even Jim Fassel and Kerry Colins made it to one Super Bowl together.


No folks, the project I am brewing is cut from a totally different material.  I am working on a product entirely different from these crap-hounds.  I am orders and orders of magnitude over and above what they are doing.  It is my objective to put a Synastry applet on your phone that will exceed everything Sirius 1.1 and Janus 4.3 can do.  I intend to do the full job of a Jyotish Match-Maker.

We're going to grind out the most accurate birth-charts anybody every saw.  We're going to do exhaustive aspect comparisons with a numerical scoring system.  The focus will be on the personal five planets, with higher scores for these aspects.  All the planets will be arranged in the houses, and scores will be assigned for these arrangements.

I will even provide a Davison chart and a Composite chart even though I do not endorse these methods.

Further, I intend to leap well beyond that.  I intend to compare your chart to 200 years worth of charts ranging from 1900 to 2100.  We're going to find your top prospects.  We're going to show you how you line up versus historical figures.

Further, I intend to do some nice 3d renders in Modo to make my graphics beautiful.

You guys are going to get ripped to shreds.  Death awaits you all with nasty big, pointy teeth.

Sometimes I think I really am a Jyotish Leo.  I am way too ferocious to be a Virgo.  

Checkout U2 performing "Because the Night" with Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith

So, as I was hanging around the Westfield Mall in Canoga Park on Wednesday, waiting for my cell phone replacement, I visited the Sony store to kill some time.  I'll tell you about the cell phone replacement later.

The good folks at Sony were showing a video from the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame induction for U2. Of course, the whole joint stopped cold and everybody watched when this number hit.  Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith joined U2 on stage to perform this track.

Bono openly declared that he wished he had written this track.  Interestingly enough, Bono is a very Taurus dude born on 5/10/1960.  Both his Sun and his Venus are in Taurus.  That will react well with Patti Smith's Sun in Capricorn and Venus in Scorpio.  There should be some pretty strong sympathetic reaction between them.  Sirius says that they have a 191 in romance and 203 for mutual kindness, pleasantness, and peace.  Anything over 150 is extremely strong.

Check out the video:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A little diddy about Venus in Scorpio

Several times now, I've mentioned the fact that I have a serious thing for girls with Venus in Scorpio.  This even caused me perplexity (recently) when this normal pattern failed in the case of Michelle Williams.  It was even more daunting in the teeth of the fact that the software apps claimed I should like her, and I could understand why.  In a double blind comparison of her chart and my chart, I would rate the two natives high versus each other.

Several have dropped me notes asking "Just what the hell is the big deal about Venus in Scorpio, and why do you like it?" One even mentioned that Venus is at home in Taurus, and in determent in Scorpio.  Yes, this is true.  Venus rules Taurus, and is in fabulous shape there.  Scorpio is 180 degrees away.  The theory holds that the planet is never more weakly expressed than when it is furthest away from the sign it rules.  It should also be noted that Libra (the other sign Venus rules) is right next door to Scorpio.  What does that do to the theory?  Not sure.

What is the significance of Venus in determent in Scorpio?  The bullet point says that such an individual is an obsessive serial seducer.  These individuals are intense, sensual, physical, passionate, and have a very high sex drive.  They have a difficult time verbalizing their feelings and needs.  However, they are extremely physically demonstrative, and act out their feelings and needs aggressively.  They are semi-psychic and can read their partners moods and expressions like a book

The obsessive serial seducer line is disputed by many authorities, who site that Scorpio is a fixed, femme, water sign that wants intense union with one individual.  However, there are some problems with desire for intensity of union on this level.  One question that automatically comes to mind is this: With passion this intense, can any partner satisfy?  Can anyone quench this raging fire?  If the answer is no, the Scorpio Venusian will step out looking to satisfy those unrequited needs... and usually fail... setting up a chain of failures.

Both of the two major sofware programs I own have interesting interpretations of this setting.  The following text comes from the Chart of Patti Smith, the famous rock diva, whom I will address in a moment.

From Sirius 1.1

    In love, you desire a deep, intense, passionate union with your beloved and form very strong emotional bonds and attachments. You "marry" the person you love at a very deep emotional level, and are often extremely possessive and jealous of any threat to that union. You can be very demanding with your love partner. You tend to be somewhat suspicious of even platonic, friendly relationships your partner has. If you are ever betrayed, you are capable of hating with as much force and intensity as you once loved. You are attracted to people who have an aura of mystery about them.
     You crave very intense, deep, emotional relationships, and would even prefer a stormy, tumultuous relationship to one which is smooth but lacking vitality and passion. You love wholeheartedly and expect all-consuming, total devotion and attention from your partner. Casual, light relationships hold no appeal for you.

From Janus 4.3

You have an all or nothing attitude when it comes to love. It is not unusual for you to experience the extremes of deep passion and cool indifference in romantic affairs. Difficulties in love can arise through emotional manipulation, power struggles or jealousy.
Do I see a warning here? Is there justification for saying that Venus is in detriment when in Scorpio? Maybe, but there is a brilliant side to this sign that never ceases to ignite my fire.

To help you see the positive side of this sign, consider one of the greatest rock masterpieces of all time Because the Night, written by Patti Smith. Patti Smith was born December 30th, 1946, which makes her a solar Capricorn.  She also happens to have that Venus in Scorpio thing  I like so much.  These folks are said to have problems in communicating their wants and needs.  Not this woman.  It must be the Capricorn in her.

If you ask me this the single most passionate and powerful rock anthem I've ever heard in my entire life.  Now, I happen to be a natural born sucker for a Capricorn woman, and especially one with a Venus in Scorpio, so you can understand that it is all I can to fight off the full-scale werewolf transformation and prevent a beast-mode attack when I hear this track.  If this song doesn't make you burn at 45,000,000 degrees Celsius, there is something seriously wrong with your pheromone receptors.

Listen to this track two or three times through whilst reading the lyrics, and you will achieve a far deeper understanding of Venus in Scorpio.  This is what it is to have a woman with Venus in Scorpio.  This is a woman with Venus in Scorpio expressing her passion.  That's just fine with me, Jack.

Here are the lyrics for your edification.

Take me now baby here as I am 
Pull me close, try and understand 
Desire is hunger is the fire I breathe 
Love is a banquet on which we feed 

Come on now try and understand 
The way I feel when I'm in your hands 
Take my hand come undercover 
They can't hurt you now, 
Can't hurt you now, can't hurt you now 

Because the night belongs to lovers 
Because the night belongs to lust 
Because the night belongs to lovers 
Because the night belongs to us 

Have I doubt when I'm alone 
Love is a ring, the telephone 
Love is an angel disguised as lust 
Here in our bed until the morning comes 

Come on now try and understand 
The way I feel under your command 
Take my hand as the sun descends 
They can't touch you now, 

Can't touch you now, can't touch you now 
Because the night belongs to lovers ... 
With love we sleep 
With doubt the vicious circle 
Turn and burns 
Without you I cannot live 
Forgive, the yearning burning 
I believe it's time, too real to feel 
So touch me now, touch me now, touch me now 

Because the night belongs to lovers ... 
Because tonight there are two lovers 
If we believe in the night we trust 
Because tonight there are two lovers ...
You know, I happen to know a 1975 Capricorn woman with a Venus in Scorpio. I love her to death. Were she single, I would marry her in heart beat. She drives me nuts. She has done so for some 5 years now. The fact that she married 2 months prior to our meeting is one of the great historical disappointments of my life.  Nevertheless, this is a complete lost cause, and write-off.  She's rock-solid in her marriage.  She won't budge.  I would be terribly disappointed in her if she did.

I passed her in the hallway the other day, and I got a good whiff of her as we saluted each other in the morning.  I experienced an immediate bio-chemical head-rush.  It was all I could do to fight off the werewolf transformation.  I almost went into beast mode right there.  People have little appreciation for how much pheromones impact the situation.

On the flip side there are problems.  I know a Taurus woman (whom I sent flowers) with Venus in Scorpio (I mistakenly said Mars at the time).  She issued no response at all to my gesture.  I see her several times a month at work.  It's terribly awkward.  At the time, I was terribly disappointed, but the gossip I've heard since that time makes me think I was protected by God.

Several buds have told me that she's been married and divorced; carried on affairs with guys in solid relationships; broken them off and sworn undying hatred for the guy; shows big emotional outbursts.  They say she's high maintenance, and hard to please.  That sounds something like Venus in Detriment in Scorpio to me.

You have to wipe the sweat off your brow after hearing these stories, and count yourself lucky.  It's probably for the best that she did not respond to me.

Nevertheless, I see that same passionate nature in this woman.  It just isn't well tempered with the super-discipline of Capricorn.  It might be re-enforced by Taurus and even stronger in her than either of these other two cases.  I sent her Carnations because Carnations indicate fascination.  Fascination was the correct message to send.  She does fascinate me.

We'll see if I ever wind up with such a woman.  La-La, the theoretically perfect Pisces, does not have Venus in Scorpio.  She has Venus in Aries.  The Top-Aries woman has Venus in Pisces.  Incidentally, Venus is exalted in Pisces.  Venus is never better than in Pisces.  Unfortunately, Pisces does not go well with my twin-Leos.

What the hell happened to my NFL radio (XM 88)?!?!?!

Okay, I'm pissed.  Yesterday morning I get into my (relatively new) Hyundai Genesis 2012, and the XM radio shows channel 0.  I don't think anything of it at first, as I am in an underground security parking lot.  No XM signal with hundreds of tons of concrete and building over your heat.  You must have an unrestricted shot at the sky if you want an XM signal.

However, the situation did not change as I surfaced and entered the streets.  The radio continued to show channel 0.  I went to the Sports category and could not find NFL Radio 88.  I tried to dial in 88 specifically.  Nope.  No dice.  The channel kept hopping from 87 to 89.  Now, I am really pissed.

I check the XM website to see in NFL Radio has gone bankrupt or suffered a plan shutdown, and I get nothing.  Now I am even more pissed.  I tried call XM radio to see what happend.  They tell me to call back during normal business hours.

I am looking around for an explanation here.  This is by far the best source of information during business season, and I was really enjoying this.  I am not going to re-up when my trial ends unless I have this channel.

Understand, I am the type of dude who gets DirectTV because of the NFL Ticket, and uses Verizon because of NFL Mobile.  Yep, I am one of those guys.  If Sirius XM can't given me NFL Radio, I am out Jack!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What two moves will have the greatest impact in turning around the Rams fortunes in 2012?

The good folks at NFL radio were asking a pretty simple question today.  They phrased it several different ways. 
  1. What two things would you do to make you team more competitive?
  2. What are the highest impact moves your team can make to change their status for the better?
  3. What roster additions would make the greatest impact on your favorite team?

‘Tis a fair questions and the one that every dedicated fan is asking himself this time of year.  It’s business season, afterall.  So here are my answers:
  1. We need two wide receivers, specifically Justin Blackmon and Vincent Jackson.  One via the draft and one via free agency.  {We also need to resign Brandon Llyod, but this is separate issues.}
  2. We need two high quality outside linebackers.  Who those two gents are, I will leave open.  I would take Zach Brown of UNC at the top of the 2nd round, and try to find the best OLB available in the upcoming bonanza of free agency.  If Gregg Williams would prefer to get two veterans he knows personally, I would have no objections.  I would also prefer that we do it this way.

As I see things, the Rams have only two devastating weaknesses:  Wide Receiver and Outside Linebacker.   We’re strong elsewhere.

We could also use a couple of young and strong running backs.  Steve Jackson is turning 30 this year.  This is the notorious age-wall that kills just about all NFL running backs.  However, this is a commodity position.  Let’s exploit this fact.

Our offensive line could use some upgrades, but this is the time and place for Coach Fisher to show us his magic.  Throughout his career at the Oilers/Titans, Jeff Fishers teams were usually amazing strong in the trenches.  Their front 9 were almost always among the 4 or 5 best in the leagues.  Yet, very, very few of the men who manned these positions were 1st-round draft picks.  { Jevon Kearse and Albert Haynesworth are two noteworthy exceptions, but these are only two men among many.}  Jeff Fisher’s staff excelled at finding men in the 3rd through 5th round, and developing those talents.  Some were even undrafted free rookie free-agents.

For Ram-fans, this is the very best news about the hiring of Jeff Fisher.  He does believe in being strong in the trenches.  He can find great men in the middle rounds.  His staff will grind & polish these diamonds in the rough.  He does not believe in the pure Darwinian philosophy of “throw ‘em in and cut ‘em if they don’t work out immediately, and without coaching.”  It is an odious, egregious & despicable fact that the Rams have held to this philosophy for many years now.  Good riddance to this bad ideology.  Let’s cultivate some players.

So, to restate my thesis point:  We need two killer receivers and two killer outside linebackers.  Those are our high priority items.  If we can do that much, the Rams can make the Playoffs in 2012.  Why would I say that?  Aren't we pretty far from the playoffs?  Let me give you a list of reasons I have sketched out before:
  1. There is nothing wrong with the Rams defense that cannot be repaired by fixing our wretched offense.
  2. I know the Ram defense showed pretty poor stats during the season, but I am telling you the stats lie. 
  3. Time of possession in 2011 was crucial to the Rams failure, both offensively and defensively.   Top rarely favored us.  We frequently lost the TOP battle by 5 minutes or more.  It got worse as the season went on.
  4. With our offense going three-and-out all the time, it is incredible that TOP was as close as it was.  The TOP figures should have been much more lopsided than they were.  This is testimony to how many punts our defense forced.
  5. If we can simply hold the football, flipping the TOP figures 2012, our defense will be vastly better.
  6. Scoring is a huge issue for the Rams.  For the second time in just 3 years, the Rams were rock bottom of the league in offense.  Incidentally, offense is measured by points scored, not yardage.  I don’t know who the fool was who established that yardage was the measure of offense, but it is time for this egregious error to be corrected.  Yardage doesn’t win the game.  Points do.
  7. The Rams scored only 193 total points in 2011.  This is just 12.06 points per game.  I don’t care how good your defense is, this is not enough to win games in the NFL. 
  8. It should be noted that the Rams scored only 175 points in 2009, averaging 10.9 points per game.
  9. It is absolutely clear that the Rams need massive upgrades at the offensive skill positions.  We are dying because we have lousy skilled-players on offense.
  10. Of those lousy skilled-players on our offense squad, our receivers are the worst of the bunch.
  11. The Rams have had the worst receiver corp in the NFL two years running.  I’m talking about 32nd out of 32 teams.  I am talking about a crew of guys with hands of stone.  Dudes who couldn’t catch a cold running barefoot and naked through an Alaskan blizzard… soaking wet.
  12. This is not a question of availability or health issues, as Devaney tried to spin it.  No friends, the quality of our guys are pretty low.  I only want Danny Amendola and Brandon Lloyd to return.  The rest can go. 
  13. The main reason we can't score is that our receivers can't catch.  
  14. With that said, a couple of Outside Linebackers will help.

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 Draft: Wacky prediction #1 Jim Irsay selects Robert Griffin III

In the surprise upset of the century thus far, Jim Ersay and the Colts will select Robert Griffin III #1 over-all in the coming NFL Draft.  Robert Griffin, not Andrew Luck, will become Peyton Manning's successor in the Colt's lineup.  This will be the shocker of shockers in 2012.

Why? Let me give you a list of reasons why:

  1. Jim Irsay is a Gemini
  2. Robert Griffin III is an Aquarius
  3. A number of astrological programs I own predict Irsay will like Griffin better than Luck.
  4. This is pretty straightforward, if you understand the theory behind it, but there are some interesting wrinkles in this pile of numbers.
  5. Jim Irsay has been making some emotional and intuitive decisions lately... like the decision to fire Vice-Chairman Bill Polian.
  6. When decisions are made at the gut-level, you chose the kid you like better, rather than the one who comes most-highly recommended.
  7. In terms of pure combine numbers, it is likely Griffin will out-perform Luck at the track-meet in Indianapolis.  This will provide a fig-leaf of science to cover pure choice by preference.
  8. Robert Griffin III will 'fit' with current Colt personnel such as Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon, and Donald Brown somewhat better than Andrew Luck will.  These are three of the survivors expected to come forward into the new era of Colt football.
  9. Many voices are muttering and murmuring about the coming era of the super-mobile athletic quarterback.  Of course, it's guys like Steve Young, Michael Vick, Tim Tebow and Cam Newton who created this buzz.  RGIII is expected to raise that buzz.  Many traditionalists reject this argument vehemently.  I suspect that Irsay will be willing to give it a try.  
The interesting wrinkle is that some software programs predict Irsay will like Griffin better on first contact, but get along better with Luck over the long-term.  

Every have one of those relationships?  You like somebody a lot at first, only to discover you don't get along that well in the long-run?  Ever have a luke-warm to cold reaction to someone at first, only to discover you are highly compatible later on?

This is basically what the Astrological software predicts.  Irsay is going to like Robert Griffin a lot when he first meets him, but it may be a difficult marriage in the long run.  Irsay's first meeting with Andrew Luck is going to leave him cold.  He's just not going to have a good or strong feeling about drafting Andrew.  If he does, it should work out fine in the long run.

Beware of those gut-level and intuitive reactions to people.  You can't always trust your feelings.  As the scientists say, try to disprove your theory, don't try to prove your theory.  You're heart can tell lies.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Virgo-Pisces Alliance No.228: Why is Trent Dilfer Andrew Luck's biggest fan?

So, unless you have been under a rock for the past two years, you probably know the name of Andrew Luck.  You probably know that he is expected to the be the #1 over-all pick in the up-coming 2012 NFL Draft.  Unless something really unexpected happens, the Colts will take him and begin their rebuilding effort in verity & sooth.

I will blog about Jim Irsay's very interesting dilemma soon, but not this time.

One of the things football fans have noticed over the course of the past several months is that Andrew Luck has many advocates.  In fact, he has almost zero (0) detractors.

So far, only Phil Simms has risen in critique of Andrew Luck.  I have the greatest respect for Phil Simms, and I view him as one of the top-analysts of the game.  However, I think his critique of Andrew is off-base.  I just don't see it his way.  I just can't see on film what he claims to have seen on film.  When Phil says Andrew doesn't make NFL-type throws, I simply can't understand what he's talking about.  I've seen almost nothing but NFL-type throws out of the kid.  The weight of evidence is greatly against Phil.

Among all of the many advocates Andrew has, one stands out above all the rest.  That would be Trent Dilfer.  Trent Dilfer has said extraordinary things about Andrew.  Like what?  How about "Andrew Luck has no flaws".

Wow... that would make Andrew Luck perfect, now wouldn't it?  I rate the kid pretty dang high, but I would stop shy of perfect.  It's pretty clear that Trent doesn't shy away from that statement.  He believes Andrew will have the most glory-ladened career of all the young'ins coming up in the 2012 NFL Draft.  Trent really believes he is the perfect QB candidate.

It's to be expected.  Trent is a March 13, 1972 Pisces dude.  Andrew is a September 12, 1989 Virgo kid.  That's almost a perfect 180, folks.  The circular distance between March 13 and September 12 is almost exactly 180 degrees.  That is the most powerful angle for attraction, balance, and complementary.  Sirius 1.1 doesn't score them that high, but this is one of those false negatives I like to harp upon.  Looking at the two charts in comparison, I can see obvious things the scoring engine missed.  Dilfer likes Luck better than Sirius says.

Incidentally, Trent is birthday-buddies with my brother.  My brother is 3 years younger.  Once upon a time, I was Trent Dilfer's biggest advocate in the NFL Draft.  I was the leader of the Draft-Trent movement among the Ram fans back 1994.  I was so incandescently pissed-off  when my Rams failed to broker a deal in that draft that I literally took a couple of years off from football.  I knew we were going to suck.  1994-1998 were absolutely dreadful years, only exceeded by our recent stretch of time.  I maintain those would have been much better years if we had made a deal and selected Trent.  Our biggest problem in those days was the QB position.

If you have been keeping track of super-recent events, you know that a debate is emerging inside NFL business circles.  The question is simple.  Who is better:  Andrew Luck of Robert Griffin III?  This is natural occurrence.  We always have too much time on our hands this time of year, ergo we chew over questions and non-questions a thousand times.  Just a couple of months ago, this question would have been considered untenable.

I want to make some specific predictions about this coming debate:

  1. It will rage on until draft day
  2. RGIII's knee injury will not deter this debate.  Andrew had one also.
  3. The Fire/Air Alliance will back RGIII
  4. The Earth/Water Alliance will back Andrew Luck.
  5. Mike Mayock is going to be torn.  He's next door to Andrew and 180 degrees away from RGIII.  He's going to struggle with this one.  I bet he loves both of these kids.
  6. The same goes for Mel Kiper.
  7. Todd McShay will side with RGIII
  8. Trent Dilfer will continue to be Andrew Luck's biggest advocate.
  9. Kurt Warner & Rich Eisen will side with Andrew Luck.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Virgo-Pisces Alliance No.227: Plotting the perfect pasta dish

Oh how lost is my FoodNetwork!  As you know, football season has ended.  This means that there is only one thing to watch on the old HDTV, and we ain't talking about basketball.  We're talking about cooking shows.  Food season begins the second that football season ends.

Unfortunately, the Food Network has rolled over and died in the past year.  I didn't mind much last year, as I was undergoing rapid weight loss after gastric bypass.  This year, the state of the Food Network has become insufferable.

Why?  Let me enumerate the reasons why!

  1. The Food Network is no longer in the teaching business.
  2. The good old teachers such as Alton Brown, Tyler Florence, and Giada DiLaurentis have a minimal presence on the Food Network these days.
  3. It seems that the Cooking Channel, in low-def only, has now become the haunt of all those who would like to improve our culinary knowledge and skills.  Better low-def than nothing, but the Cooking Channel really should make the leap to high-def soon.
  4. The Food Network has gone over to the reality show dogs.  Am I alone here when I say that there is simply nothing worse than these stupid game-shows masquerading as reality shows?  Reality shows were bad enough, but now that they have gamed them, these shows are even worse.  Unfortunately, this absolute rubbish is the prime-time substance of the Food Network.  I am utterly  disgusted beyond words.  I cannot pour enough scorn and venom on this programming strategy.
  5. Alton Brown doesn't seem to be cranking out any more episodes of Good Eats.
  6. Tyler Florence is busy running a restaurant in Mill Valley California, recharging his culinary batteries, according most insider reports.  He's not doing any new episodes of Tyler's Ultimate.
  7. Only Michael Symon is cranking out good teaching programming at this point, and only for the Cooking Channel.  He has never done a true teaching program in HD.
Nevertheless, it is quite clear that Michael Symon has slid right into the spot formerly occupied by Tyler Florence.  Astrologically, this is to be expected.  Tyler is a Pisces.  Michael is a Virgo.  These are 180 degree opposites, but more alike and complementary than you would ever expect at first glance.  The demographic Tyler appealed to is exactly the same demographic Michael Symon will appeal to.  You would expect their audience test scores to be very similar.

Is there anything more than that?  Well, I am certainly glad you asked me that question.  If you can, view the following episodes of Tyler's Ultimate and Symon's Suppers back to back, and tell me you don't see any resemblance in the food or meal plan.
  1. Tyler's Ultimate Sunday Gravy, first aired on 2/27/2010
  2. Symon's Suppers Childhood Favorites, first aired on 2/9/2012
In episode 1, Tyler is preparing a spaghetti  meal with pork shoulder, ribs and meat balls.  He braises these items in a sauce very similar to the base sauce for Bolognese.  In episode two, Michael Symon is cooking with his mother and father.  He prepares a spaghetti meal with ribs and meat balls in a base sauce very similar to Bolognese.  

Michael Symon proceeds from the statement that this is his mama's recipe, and his favorite from childhood.  You can't help but feel a conversation is taking place.  You cannot help but feel that Michael Symon is developing a dialectical culinary conversation with Tyler.  Obviously, these two gravies are vastly more similar than dis-similar.

Evidently, Mike's mom didn't use pork shoulder.  Too bad... the pork shoulder looked sensational.  I would not leave out the pork shoulder.  Also, Symon's use of Ricotta cheese in the meat balls is critical.  Tyler did not use Ricotta in his meatballs.  I would not leave out the Ricotta.  I am sure those meatballs were sensational.

Symon also braises with a cheese rind.  That is a sensational trick I learned from an Italian gent, and it works like crazy.

If that is not enough for you, then consider the following pair of episodes:
  1. Tyler's Ultimate Winter Comfort Food, first aired 1/17/2007
  2. Symon's Suppers Sunday Suppers, first aired 2/2/2012
In episode #1, Tyler prepares Tagliatelle Bolognese.  In episode #2, Michael prepares Tagliatelle Bolognese.  The key difference is that Tyler uses beef and pork with some panchetta.  He finishes with some Italian Parsley.  Michael Symon used some sensational Lamb shoulder and finishes with Mint.

Symon also reduces his sauce to a chunky thickness, he then loosens the reduction with pasta water.  I do this myself.  You concentrate the sauce as much as possible to a paste, then you re-hydrate with that starchy and salty pasta water.  This greatly enhances the flavor of the sauce.

You can't help but feel a conversation is taking place.  You cannot help but feel that Michael Symon is developing a dialectical culinary conversation with Tyler.  It is a fascinating conversation as well... At least from my perspective.

Personally, I would mix Pork and Lamb, use Black-forrest smoked bacon, and finish with Mint.  I would also home-brew my own fresh Tagliatelle pasta.  In fact, I just decided I am going to do this tonight.  Tonight is the night.

I am shocked Michael Symon didn't do his own fresh pasta in this particular episode.  I have seen him do this a hundred times before.  I got my vacuum-sealer stunt from him. That is when I really took my own home-pasta to the next level.  

Returning to the ultimate home gravy, for just one moment, I am going to have to do this recipe soon, but I won't do it until I have a bunch of people to help me eat it.  This stuff looks just too precious to waste.  It also is intended to be shared.  I know that just by taking one look at it.

A quick shout out to Tyler:  We need you to come back, man!  The Food Network just ain't the same without you.  We need you to do some new material, and we need Michael Symon to do his first HD teaching show.  Both shows needs to go into a prime-time slot, back to back.

I promise you, oh managers of the Food Network, that you will dominate that time slot if you will put this deal together.  Trust me.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bladerunner's 30th anniversary

So I just finished watching rep #1 of Bladerunner on AMC HD (Direct TV 254).  They are doing a marathon in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Bladerunner's release.  This anniversary celebration blew my frickin' brains out when I saw it, and recognized it for what it really was.

It is astounding, and almost impossible to believe, that Bladerunner was released nearly 30 years ago.  We won't have the real 30 year date until June 25th, as the original was released to theaters on 6/25/1982, but we are close enough.  What's another 4 months and 15 days?

I was a 15 year old kid (going on 16) sitting in the Festival Cinemas (Blackstone Avenue Fresno Ca) on Saturday 6/26/1982.  The movie pretty much blew me away.  The visual universe had a lot to do with it.  The score by Vangelis also had it's profound effect.  Great acting and directing did the rest.  It blew us all away.  I still think it is the greatest dystopian piece of science fiction I have ever seen.

It scared the hell out of me.  I wondered if the world of 2019 might look something like that.  That time and that world seemed a vast distance away from me in those days.  I think I did the computation which indicated that I would be 52-53 years old in that time.  I wondered if I would live to see that time.  Now it is just 7 years away.  It doesn't seem that long anymore.

I am glad to see that AMC is showing the movie in it's original theatrical release.  There have been several minor revisions of the film passing as "the director's cut" and "the final cut".  They never did anything for me.  I do not believe these changes made any improvements to the film.  Many have poured their scorn on Harrison Ford's narration in the original theatrical cut.  Not me.  I always liked it just fine.  I doubt I would have understood the movie without it.  Even today, when I see one of the other cuts, I still reference all the critical information the narrative provided.

For a long time, I believed this was the greatest movie ever made.  It was my favorite film for years.  It remains one of my favorite films.  Furthermore, Ridley Scott is on my short-short list of whose the greatest director of all time.

It's hard for me to describe the reasons why this film moved me so much when I was a kid.  Perhaps it was the fact that 1982 was one of my worst years.  I lost weight rapidly in 1981 only to turn around and lose my starting position on the defensive line as a Sophomore in 1981/82.  I damaged my Achilles tendon in a freak accident with a fish tank.  None of the girls I liked in High School liked me back.  Nothing was going my way.

The dark and depressing tone of a misery, isolation and depression fit my mood well at the time.  Harrison Ford played a very isolated lone wolf character, not temperamentally suited to the role of a Bladerunner, but highly proficient at the task.  He finds love in a hopeless place, at the risk of quoting Rihanna, with a lovely replicant he has been ordered to kill.

She was a knock-out too.  Sean Young is one of just a few Scorpio women who knocked me out as a young guy.  It was just a few moments ago that I re-discovered what I really knew already:  I have very high synastry with Sean Young.  The numbers here don't lie.

Down through the years this movie has stuck with me.  I've seen it a hundred or more times, and have enjoyed it on different levels every time.  In this most recent run through the flick, I looked at it as a Cancer/Scorpio romance story.  They have great depth of emotion and feeling without a lot of words, as we would expect in this pairing.  She even pulls a classic Scorpio woman maneuver, blowing Brion James' brains out to protect her man.  Those Scorpio women will pull the trigger when their loved ones are threatened.

Here are few of the classic reasons why Bladerunner resonates with me:

  1. If the population of SoCal expanded to 1 billion people, I do wonder if the resulting Malthusian nightmare would look like Bladerunner.
  2. If we were able to genetically design clone slaves (called replicants) I wonder if we would treat them so inhumanely as the humans of this piece do.  I would hope not, but I think we probably would.
  3. If you could genetically design the perfect replicant companion, I don't doubt a simple biological human would fall in love with him/her, human biology being what it is.
  4. At the same time, I don't doubt we would oppress these very same ones we love.  We only hurt the ones we love.
  5. There is a great deal of Søren Kierkegaard's existentialism in this movie.  There are a number of homeless and uncomfortably isolated characters in this movie who struggle to overcome emotional isolation and find some meaning in the face of the great certainty of death.  This is strong meat.  J.R.R. Tolkien once said that all great literature is about the same thing:  Death.
In short, this movie deals with the crooked timber of humanity, and the inhumanity of mankind, in the face of the great certainty of death.  It does so in brilliant fashion.

If you happened to see Bladerunner for the very first time sometime in the past several years, you might wonder what all the hub-bub is about.  You might even think of this is an average or cliche SciFi film.  Believe me, nothing could have been further from the truth back in 1982.

This is the original, often emulated to the point of cliche.  This movie invented this style.  Thousands have tried to emulate it.  Just remember: this is the original.  Everything else that followed is a dupe.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Core workout for the ages

So, I came up with a core workout for the ages last night.  I went to the gym around 8:30pm and executed this pattern 2.5 times before my back began to ache, and I was forced to retreat for the evening.

My form was good to excellent on everything except the pike.  The pike still gives me problems.  My weight on the Turkish Get Up increased to 12 KG (about 26 pounds) and I really could have done 30.  There was a time when I couldn't even perform the Turkish Get Up.  The first time I tried it, I looked pretty damn stupid.  The reason was/is core strength.  The TGU is a misunderstood exercise.  It is thought to be a shoulder exercise.  It is much more a core exercise.

I woke up with mildly sore (but very hard) abs & obliques.  This is a sure sign of a good core workout the night before.  I was so impressed with the results I decided to share it with you here.  I am on my way to a 6-pack.

CrossFit Core Circuits


1.     Turkish Get-Up
2.     Windmill

Jungle Gym XT

1.     Crunch
2.     Pike
3.     Pendulum
4.     Push-up to Pike
5.     Yoga Plank + Tuck
6.     Angels
7.     Oblique-twists

The Stool

1.     Frog Kicks

The Rack

1.     Situps
2.     Ab-Crawler
3.     Reverse Ab-Crawler
4.     Yoga-Plank + twist
5.     Yoga-Plank
6.     Leg Raises
7.     Bicycle Kicks