Saturday, August 17, 2013

My random idea for a video game

Over the years I have watched seagulls terrorize beach goers in a variety of ways.  I've seen them dive down out of nowhere and snatch sandwiches right out of unsuspecting hands.  I've observed them wait for people to walk away, then rummage through open bags left unattended.  Today as I was eating lunch I noticed one eyeballing me from several yards back, just waiting to see if I'd give it any sort of opportunity to scavenge.
Unlike "Duck Hunt," the bird is the hunter.
And in that moment an idea popped into my head.  Maybe it's called "Seagull Hunt," or something along the lines of "Grand Theft Seagull."  But in this video game you get to be the bird trying to steal whatever you can eat from the humans on the beach.  I envision a constantly decreasing energy line on the bottom of the screen that goes up when you find food.  As the game goes on the clock ticks faster and the food becomes harder to get.  Maybe each time you fly you lose power as well, in turn rewarding more difficult sneak attacks from the ground.  If while defending their snacks people manage to hit you with a towel, rock, or umbrella your life meter would take a drastic plunge.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Why I love the Vineyard

On a tiny island overcrowded by well beyond 100,000 people (including the President of the United States) during the busiest week of the year, with beaches jam packed blanket to blanket, you can still find amazing spots without anyone else in sight if you try hard enough.

Below is a continuation of the panoramic view above when you climb through that path between the dunes:

If you know where this is, I may have to kill you.

Also, tonight the town of Oak Bluffs hosts the greatest fireworks show on the planet.  Here's my explanation why, with video from last year.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Major League Baseball is taking my advice

Back in May I wrote a blog suggesting that MLB should have a "replay office" in New York that rules on all disputed calls in every game simultaneously.  My theory was that people who's job it was specifically to watch footage and get the calls right, with the best available technology (and knowledge of how to use it) at their finger tips, would be much more accurate than the on field umps viewing monitors in the stadiums.  Today baseball announced expected changes to their video review system in 2014, including this:
"All replays will be reviewed by umpires at headquarters in New York, with technicians available to provide the necessary video."
Well done MLB, thanks for listening to me.  Managers will now be given challenges (just like in the NFL), one in the first 6 innings, and two over the final 3.  My gut reaction is that three per game for each team seems like a lot, but we'll see.  One interesting sidebar to the new system is that managers will no longer be allowed to argue on plays that are reviewable.

The time honored baseball tradition of managers and umpires screaming in each others' faces won't go away completely though, as arguing will still be permitted on plays where instant replay doesn't apply.  Managers will also be allowed to ask the umps to get together and see if anyone saw things differently; which is something I've always been shocked doesn't happen on every single controversial play already.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Have the Tampa Bay Rays fired their twitter account manager yet?

On the evening of July 29th, the Tampa Bay Rays were in the midst of a very impressive 22-4 stretch.  After a 2-1 victory over Boston, the Rays found themselves with a half-game lead over the Red Sox atop the AL East.  However, Tampa had been handed that day's win on a blown call at home plate.  While representing the tying run in the 8th inning, Daniel Nava was incorrectly ruled out despite clearly beating the tag.  Angry about the umpire's error, whoever was running the Fenway Park scoreboard that night neglected to change the standings and move the Rays back into first place.  Tampa's official twitter account decided to take it upon themselves to point this out; a fairly obnoxious move considering everybody and their mother (the umpire even admitted he was wrong) knew they shouldn't have won the game the way they did.

The Red Sox twitter easily won the battle of wits by promptly responding with a dig at the Rays pathetic home crowds:

A look at the standings today shows the Red Sox with a 4 game lead.  Since their infamous trash talking tweet the Rays are just 3-8, and have lost six in a row (the red hot Dodgers are partly to thank).  Hopefully the @RaysBaseball twitter account has also been constantly bombarded by Sox fans pointing out the #FenwayParkScoreboard.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The LA Dodgers are so hot right now

Like "Hansel" hot.  On the morning of June 22nd (just 52 days ago), 72 games into the season the Los Angeles Dodgers we're in last place in the NL West with a record of 30-42.  At the time they had a team batting average of .256, a slugging percentage of .375, and the pitching staff had posted a 3.84 ERA.  Since that day all three numbers have improved dramatically over the past 46 games.  In that time LA is hitting .288, slugging .430, and has an ERA more than a full run lower, at 2.55.  Oh yeah, and they've also gone 38-8 over that span.

38-8 is an amazing run for any MLB club to go on, but unheard of for a team that was stuck in last place playing sub .500 ball for nearly half a season.  And now that I'm writing about them I can pretty much guarantee they'll start slumping tonight.

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to put sunscreen on your back without any help

I was reading a book on the beach today, when I happened to look up and see this lady nearby pull a giant plastic kitchen spoon out of her bag.  Instantly I had a feeling I knew what she was going to do with it, and a few seconds later my hunch was confirmed.  She squirted a large glob of sunscreen on it, then proceeded to rub it all over her back.

To me it didn't look as if the spoon was a particularly effective tool for this purpose, but I'm also hard pressed off the top of my head to come up with anything better.  My first thought was to get something like those brushes that have dish soap in the handle and fill it with sunscreen instead, but obviously you'd want a device that wouldn't absorb any of the lotion itself.

And from watching this women it was clear today wasn't the first time she'd done this, so I'm betting over the years she'd probably explored a bunch of other options before settling on the spoon.   Apparently one thing that didn't occur to her though was asking her husband sitting next to her for help.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds, or the cast of "Pitch Perfect"

In 1985 Simple Minds released "Don't You (Forget About Me)," which over time has been aided by the massive success of the film it was featured in that same year, The Breakfast Club.  But the reason I chose this song now is because I just recently discovered the movie Pitch Perfect.  I know I'm way late on this (continuous HBO airplay is what finally got me to watch it), but the teenybopper flick about college acapella singers has become one of my new favorites.  It's pretty funny, and the music is spectacular.

As I have said before, I realize sometimes my tastes in pop culture are those of an average middle school girl, and I'm ok with that.  So here is the cast of Pitch Perfect singing the classic Simple Minds song, mixed together with Jessie J's "Price Tag" and Pitbull's "Give Me Everything (Tonight)."

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