A Thousand Marbles

OK, that's it! Denmark is a goner... He's lost ALL his marbles. Before the age of 75 even!Sitting at work this weekend, I got to thinking about life and it seems to me that the older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of (usually) not having to be at work.

Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable. A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the kitchen of Chez Hugo for a bit to eat after a good night of beer, video games and good times with the room mates, and what began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it.

I came across a Saturday morning talk show. I heard an older sounding chap with a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business himself. He was talking about “a thousand marbles” to someone named “Tom”.

I was intrigued and sat down to listen to what he had to say. “Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital”.

He continued, “Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.” And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles”.

“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years. Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now stick with me Tom, I’m getting to the important part”.

“It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail”, he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.”

“So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had.”

“I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in my workshop next to the radio. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.”

“I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.”

“Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.”

“It was nice to talk to you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your loved ones, and I hope to meet you again someday. Have a good morning!”

You could have heard a pin drop when he finished. Even the show’s moderator didn’t have anything to say for a few moments. He gave me something to think about.

Towers of Hanoi

I loved this as a youth, now I play with donutsAt first I wanted to put this in ‘Indecorum’ which is doubling as a ‘Fun and Games’ section, but this is a great followup to the IQ Test.

Towers of Hanoi is a game of recursion or the skill and logic to find patterns if you don’t know what recursion is. Don’t place a big layer on a small layer or you’ll crush the cake.

Number of moves = 2 ^ (number of layers) – 1 :: 3 layers : 2 ^ 3 – 1 = 7 moves

Me and Plato

I don't suffer from insanity, but enjoy every minute of it - Edgar Allan PoeBeen drinking a lot and can’t tie your shoes as quickly as before?

Take this IQ test and see if your neurons are still firing.

Emode said I am a Visionary Philosopher with an IQ of 136. I think that means I can quit this computer science stuff and sit around just saying things. Cali grab a pen…

Follow-up: Denmark’s Triathlon

Hey Adam... you know the girls love a triathlon hardbody... keep at it and they will come...

As about a month has passed and I have fully recovered from my Santa Cruz Sentinal Triathlon on September 29th, I was urged to share a bit of the experience.

First and foremost, I’d like to thank Shannon, Cara, Joe and Sam for showing up to support me. It meant a lot to me to have people there cheering and to talk to after the event. It was a fantastic, sunny day in Santa Cruz and we had some time to enjoy it. Thanks for showing up guys! 🙂

Although practically prevented from training because of a hefty work load, I did manage to take more than two minutes off my personal best (PB); the new time is 2:37;56 for 1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run. That distance is better known as the olympic or international distance, and is about 1/4 of a full Ironman race.

As I was competing in the Clydesdale Division (for portly gentlemen weighing in at 200+ lbs), I placed 9th in that class. However, my placing overall is hardly impressive: 397 of 900. You can see the results posted here. The Clydesdales are at the very top of the page…

Improving my PB without much training is most likely a product of the varying distances and difficulties of the courses. My previous PB was set on a very hilly bike and run course, where this one was relatively flat and I had a newer, better bike for this race. I credit better tools for my success 🙂

Anyway, it was a great event. I expect to compete more next year, starting in the late spring, and hopefully I can continue to get people to show up for these races. I only do it for fun, and I love when I have company for training and for competition.

Yours faithfully,
– the Triathlon Office Mouse

PS. For the original triathlon posting, please see the 20th of August posting in the archives.

Drunken Halloween?

Aaaah... The best of both worlds

A friend of mine sent me a story published on drinking and Halloween and how one destroys the other. Too much drinking and your Halloween will end sadly

The following is the first paragraph of the article she sent me:
“Peering back into the mists of childhood, the Halloween evokes images of candy, dressing up, candy, carving pumpkins, candy, family togetherness, candy, staying up late, candy, and, well, being sick from all that candy. It seems a shame that Halloween now symbolizes drinking, dressing up, drinking, throwing pumpkins, drinking, student togetherness, drinking, vandalizing, drinking, and, well, being sick from all that drinking. Many people would say that this interpretation of the holiday destroys its fine integrity, sullies its true importance, and tarnishes its unblemished memories from our youth. These claims are totally and completely true.”

This sounds a little drastic to me. I’d say a good, contrasting school of thought on the matter is a symbiosis of the two events: Pumpkin Beer! A beautiful union of good things, although you may have to get used to a new taste compared to your Coors Lights…

So lasts words of advice: I’m no doctor, but I recommend going to as many parties as you can and having a good time. Don’t have too many pun’kin beers, because the police knows it’s Halloween too. Carve responsibly.

Review: Strange Brew

Officer! My brother is driving drunk!

With the release of the cult classic “The adventures of Bob and Doug McKenzie; Strange Brew” on DVD (Oct 1st, 2002) and today being Canadian Thanksgiving, it was time to review the classic of these two beer guzzling hosers.

Although loosely based on Hamlet, the similarities are negligable; the brewery is run by the dead man’s brother who married the widow shortly after the death (which was hardly accidental). Anything for a story-line, eh? Well, Bob and Doug will save the day.

Really this is a hit-or-miss for anyone who views it – there are no luke warm feelings after this movie: Either you thought it was the worst movie since Kentucky Fried Movie or you think it’s the best movie since KFM! Any way you end up feeling, you will learn the origin of the ‘take off hoser!’ or ‘it’s a beauty, eh?’… if you watch the whole thing that is… 🙂

Cinematic education for ALL beer guzzling hosers!

I love it and I can’t get enough of it. For me it’s a winner every time.

Check out these links for fan sites:

Bob and Doug’s Canadian Homepage
Mr. Goodbeer’s Strange Brew Page
Take Off!!

Review: Van Wilder

I learned a long time ago that worrying is like a rocking chair... it gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere. Write that down...

For a movie supposed to be another in the long line of college grossout/gag movies (the kind that pretty much go straight to video, i.e “Freddy Got Fingered”, “Tom Cats” and “Slackers”), National Lampoon’s (NL) Van Wilder has stuck around for a long time.

I watched it last night with Joe Benson and a plate of cheeze nachos washed down with a pint of Eldo’s finest amber lager, and I laughed my ass of… Granted I am very susceptiple to this sort of humor, but since it speaks to me (the mentally “under 21” crowd) as a solid NL comedy I wanted to put this review up to see what the rest of you think?

Between Milty’s high dive, topless tutors and the cream filled baked goods I had a smile from one ear to another throughout the movie and I recommend it warmly to any other immature, easily amused, still-in-college mentality kids out there.

Don’t be a fool – stay in school.


Lasers don't kill people ... Driving 40 in the fast lane kills people. This is a little dorkier (sic) than most of what…check that, I guess it fits right in with the rest of the content. LaserTag (open a center) was the original real life first person shooter game. Instead, this game uses lasers to turn on lightbulbs….

They aren’t the same thing, but this game of bending lasers with smoke, mirrors and prisms is pretty addictive.

“I sense the urge to cheat is strong in you, resist using the ‘hint’ button.”