Mar 29, 2012

Living in the Past

See what I did there?

No...ugh, I guess a blog title joke referencing my entry from two days ago will get me that kind of reaction.  Believe me, it was fucking hilarious!

A family member has been in New Orleans all week, taunting me with texts of pictures of delicious food. It's my own fault. I was the one who suggested all the spots to go eat. Still made me wish I was back in New Orleans. And I haven't been back since before Katrina wrecked the joint. I really need to go back to see what they've done with the place. I can imagine liking it anymore than my last visit.

Key West is another place that I haven't been back to in a long while. Gonna remedy that soon, but Dave's trip there last week really made me want to be there NOW!  Like I said...gonna remedy that soon.

In the meantime, let's go living in the past with a link to an old post from Slyde's blog back before I had a blog of my own.

Beware, it's...TALES OF THE BLACK SOCK!!!

(Go check that shit out, okay?)

Mar 27, 2012

Living in the Future

"I'll tell you how I know. I read it in the papers...15 years ago. We're all driving rocket ships, and talking with our minds. And wearing turquoise jewelery, and standing in soup lines. We are standing in soup lines." - John Prine

I was gonna embed a video here. Of old John Prine singing his folksy tune about living in the future. But there ain't no video nowheres that I can find of him and that tune. A bunch of covers by a bunch of wannabes, but no originals anywhere. Gahbless ya, internets.

Even though Prine's words are dripping with sarcasm and social commentary, it's still a thought that dances through my reptilian brain every so often. We are living in the future, and everything sucks.  Just like Louis CK said, in a much funnier way on the Conan show once.

Our local, hated cable company has been recently expanding their WiFi network by adding to the number of hotspots they offer throughout the territory. I've only noticed it because I recently upgraded to an android phone.  And I keep it enabled for WiFi since I mostly work from home, and we have fast WiFi here. I was somewhere or another a few weeks ago, and I saw that there was WiFi available through one of their hotspots.  Cool. I registered, meaning that it would automatically switch to one of these hotspots in the future automatically if one was available. Excellent.

Except their WiFi network kinda sucks right now.  Yeah, the coverage is expanding all the time. But it's kinda slow. Maybe faster than surfing the web on 3G, but still slower than I'm used to.

So yeah, I sit there and complain while I'm trying to read about a Spring Training baseball game because the page takes an extra second or three to load.

And then I look around, and see everyone around me with their heads down.  Peering into their tablet or smartphone or what-not.  No one is talking. No one is making eye contact or looking at the scenery. And I've become one of them.

We are living in the future. Yeah...

Mar 23, 2012

It's coming

Are you ready?

They are.

Mar 22, 2012

The old standby

Cat pictures!

The King, Wolowitz...sleeping on his throne.

His sister Gogo...she's only still when she sleeps.

Bootsy sleeping on my work desk.  He's large...

Bennington doing what he do.  All cute and shit.

We are thinking that the last one needs to be on the front of a greeting card or something. 

Question: How can we make money off of these fuckers?

Mar 20, 2012

Food porn!

Nothing to see here, but head over to Simmer, Sip, Share for some titillating food porn as I review a local restaurant called Mara's Homemade that serves New Orleans-style grub and Arkansas BBQ. 

The food made my pants tight.  For several reasons.

Click on the picture for the review

Mar 19, 2012

Express Stress

I've got a silly little pet peeve that struck a nerve a couple of times in the past few days. So allow me to go off on a rant.

I do most of the food shopping in the house.  Mostly because I do most of the cooking, and I shop for what I need.  I'm not good at planning ahead, so I wind up hitting the supermarket 3-4 times in a given week. Sometimes only to pick up 6 or 7 items.  It's not time or cost effective, but it's just the way that I'm built.  Not much I can do about it.  Besides, sometimes I get in the mood for a certain meal on a whim. Hard to plan around whims.

So this particular pet peeve has to do with the Express Checkout lane at the market. We have automated checkout lanes and regular lanes with human checkout clerks. Both have Express Checkout lanes. You know, the type with a big sign that says "12 Items or Less" hovering someplace in plain fucking sight.  And I have an awful habit of counting how many items the person in front of me has.  7 items?  You're good! 15 items?  Wait a minute, pal...get in the correct lane!

But, generally, as long as the person in front of me is quick and gets through their checkout without any problems I'm fine. 

It's the 99.99% of the time when the person is an absolute fucking idiot that I lose my fucking mind!

Take my last two trips to the market as examples. The first trip I was picking up a few items to make some baked potato soup with green onions, cheddar and bacon.  Mostly I needed the green onions, cheddar and bacon. I was set on everything else. Hehehe.  So I grabbed my items and headed to the automated checkout counter.  The dude in front of me looked like a good dude. Interesting facial hair, NY Yankee baseball cap...he seemed alright. Until I wound up hating him.

He was purchasing some stuff for a party. Greeting cards, wrapping paper, gift bags, flowers, a balloon...those kind of things.  I immediately noticed he had around 16 items, so some mild warning bells starting ringing in my brain.  Then he proceeded to demonstrate no knowledge of ever having used an automated checkout counter before.  EVER!  He needed management assistance for no fewer than 5 items in his cart.  Including the balloon, which threatened to escape to the ceiling.  Also, he had no idea how to proceed after scanning the balloon because he couldn't place it on the conveyor belt for the sensor to recognize it.

It. Was. A. Nightmare!!!  And it took forever.

Yet, I found myself at the same market at the same automated "Express" lane the very next day.  This time I was pleased to find a guy with only 7-8 items in his basket.  This made me optimistic. But then that optimism turned to despair in mere moments. He also had never used one of these machines before, apparently.  And all the items in his bag were of the fresh produce variety.  So he had to look each one up individually.  At an average of 2-3 minutes an item.  This was worse than the previous experience. But not by very much. Both sucked.'s not that I really mind the extra items or the occasional need for assistance from a manager.  I've been there, had an extra item and needed that assistance.  Not to this level, however. And it goes against the very nature of what this lane is all about. EXPRESS SERVICE!!! The lanes exist to facilitate a quick checkout, get it? And there are no apologies ever.  It's like this is their world and I'm just living in it. 

That's actually the basis of the pet peeve. People with no regard for anyone else.  Whether they fail to signal when driving or slow an express lane to an absolute halt.  I just hate those people. 

Because you know they would be the first one to complain if, God forbid, THEY were ever inconvenienced.


Mar 15, 2012

The Walking Dead - SPOILERS

This post has some pretty serious spoilers for the current season of The Walking Dead.  I'm gonna get all up in that shit, so if you haven't watched it yet you may want to skip the rest of this post.  You have been warned.

Darryl, the redneck ninja. Photo credit

Read more after the jump...

OK, are we alone now? I love you. Wait..what?  Sorry about that. Lost my mind for a second there.

So yeah...The Walking Dead. We've been absolutely loving this half-season.  While the first half of the season was one long drawn-out search for a dead girl, the action has ratcheted up a notch as we zombie shuffle toward this Sunday's season finale.  We've got shootouts and zombies and in-fighting and more zombies and the breakup of a formerly grand bro-mance. It's been a whole shambling heap of zombie fun.

And the creators of the show haven't been shy about killing off some of the main characters this year.  I would suggest that they have killed off the wrong main characters, but at least they are recognizing that the show takes place in a zombie apocalypse.  People die in a zombie apocalypse. That's one of the rules. Next to head-shots, it's pretty much the top rule.

Like I said, we've been really enjoying the show.

That's not to say that there have been some problems with it.  Take Carl, for instance.  I couldn't have been the only one out there, but I literally yelled out "WHAT THE FUCK IS HE DOING OUT THERE?" during the last five minutes of the past show.  I felt like Brodie yelling at that kid on the escalator in Mallrats. If you saw it, you know what I mean. It's night-time in Zombieland, there's a missing prisoner, shots have been fired...and he is fucking wandering around? In in a fucking field!  What the hell is up with that?  Remember when I said the wrong people have been dying?  Yup...he's one of the ones who should have bit it by now. Him and his stupid fucking hat!

I'm not the only one to feel that way about Carl.  The Internets are buzzing with the same thoughts. Best portrayed here by graphic artist Peter Chiykowski on his Rock, Paper, Cynic site:

There are other problems with other characters, for sure.  T-Dog has literally had two lines of dialogue in the past 6 weeks. And those were in this past episode. I'm pretty sure one of them was "Welcome ta Earf!"* Andrea should just sit back and kick ass and stop judging people. Her judgy-face is making me long for the day when a zombie finally bites it off! And Lori...ugh, don't get me started on Lori. If I had my druthers, and I really miss my druthers, her head would be on the chopping block in the season finale. And my druthers are blood-thirsty, so I would want it to be a gruesome death.  Maybe she could choke on that ham sandwich that she is seriously in need of.  Fucking skinny bitch!  And she's supposed to be pregnant? Iggy Pop is curvier. Ugh.

I just can't wait for them to get off of this farm and out into the big, scary zombie world. Hopefully that's what happens after this zombie herd runs rough-shod over the farm next week.  And maybe Carl will leave the house one time too many.

::fingers crossed::

*That's racism, man! I love to racism, bro!

Mar 13, 2012

Infinitely Cool

Saw this on The Interrobang yesterday.

It's an interactive Scale of the Universe.  That is all

Ready to feel...smaller?

This isn't the interactive scale. Just a "picture" of the Universe. Is all.

Mar 12, 2012

No Crying in Baseball

Note: This is gonna be about fantasy baseball. If you aren't a baseball geek or a math geek or a stats geek, then you will probably want to move right along. You have been forewarned.

A few weeks ago, I floated the idea of a fantasy baseball league here on The Verdant Dude.  I didn't get much positive feedback from the blog-gang, so I then had the bright idea to to re-float the league on our weekly radio show.  And an inspiration was born.

Instead of doing your basic 5X5 Roto league or using the standard fantasy point system, I thought we should come up with something that reflects our current interest in advanced baseball statistics.  Sabermetrics, if you prefer. The idea behind the league is to come as close as possible to replicating the results of two of my favorite advanced statistics, wOBA and FIP.  Why wOBA and FIP? Because they are the two main components used for WAR (Wins Above Replacement), which is a value-driven stat on sites like Fangraphs or Baseball-Reference.  What are they?  Well...


wOBA stands for Weighted On-Base Average. It was originally invented by uber-sabermetician Tom Tango*, and it attempts to measure a hitter's overall value by placing weights on each specific offensive event.  Basically, the idea behind it is that doubles are worth more than singles, triples are worth more than doubles and home runs are worth more than triples. Seems obvious, but it's something that is totally missing in both Batting Average and regular old On-Base Percentage.  The weights change each year slightly based upon league averages, but for 2011 the formula for wOBA that FanGraphs uses is:

wOBA = (0.69×uBB + 0.72×HBP + 0.89×1B + 1.26×2B + 1.60×3B +
2.08×HR + 0.25×SB -0.50×CS) / PA

So a single is worth slightly more than an unintentional walk or a hit-by-pitch, and then you see the weights for doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases.  Everything is then divided by plate appearances and you get an average that has a relation to the old OBP.  A player with a .400 wOBA is a top-tier guy.  .370 is great, .340 is above-average, .320 is average, .300 is poor, etc...

The challenge became translating that formula into a point structure.  I think I've accomplished that by assigning positive point values to BB, HBP, H, 2B, 3B, HR and SB.  Then negative point values are assigned for AB (to represent outs created) and CS.  The results pretty closely mirror the wOBA leader-board from last year.  I'm still in the process of tweaking it, and I have a friend helping out.  But I think it's pretty close.


FIP stands for Fielding Independent Pitching.  It measures what a pitcher's ERA should look like over a given period of time assuming performance on balls in play and timing were league average.  The idea is that balls in play (calculated as Batting Average on Balls in Play, or BABIP) can swing wildly from one season to another for a given pitcher, and it might not be the fault of the pitcher at all.  Luck and the fielders playing behind him are big reasons for the fluctuations.  So we should try to measure a pitcher's effectiveness by measuring what they can control.  And those things are walks, strikeouts and home runs.  Mostly.  Here's the 2011 formula for FIP on Fangraphs:

FIP = ((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP-IBB))-(2*K))/IP + constant

So pitchers are penalized, heavily, by the home runs they give up and walks (netted of intentional walks) and how often they hit batters. Then they are given credit for strikeouts and the innings that they pitch (or the outs they get).  The constant at the end changes yearly, and it's for bringing the formula into a more recognizable ERA form.  This one was a little more difficult to translate into a point structure for a league, but I think I came close.  You'll notice that there are no points awarded for Wins, Losses or Earned Runs.  Those are "team" statistics that are often over-valued in the traditional world of baseball statistics.  So we are going to ignore them in this league. I am going to throw a bone to closers by awarding points for Saves, but I'm not happy about it. Saves, as a statistic, suck.  But a concession must be made, so...

So it's going to be a bit more complex, and hopefully rewarding, than your traditional fantasy baseball league.  If the three of you (RW, Paticus and Sybil Law) who were initially interested in joining the league are still interested, I will follow up with you via email.  If this scared you off, well...I understand.  There are going to be a handful of stat geeks in the league, if the folks who download our radio show is any indication.  So it should be competitive. I still want it to be a free league, with maybe a prize of some apple pie moonshine for the winner, but we will discuss that as well.

So exciting!!!  More to follow...

*Tom Tango is actually a pseudonym for either a single man or several baseball analysts.  Not really sure about that.  His site is really interesting, though.  You should check it out.

Mar 9, 2012

Humanoids from the Deep (1980)

Netflix has been adding some interesting titles to their stable of Instant choices. Well, interesting to me. More importantly, interesting to the inner-child that still lives within me. An inner-child that is constantly feeding on me, like a conjoined parasitic twin. Eww.

What does all this have to do with Humanoids from the Deep?  Well, because Humanoids from the Deep was basically a perfect movie for a young 13 year-old Earl.  It was loaded with the three things that I valued over everything else at that age.

1. Monsters.
2. Bad acting/special effects/makeup/etc...
3. Female full frontal nudity.

That last one was particularly important. Ahem.

And as an added bonus, it made good use of the word "humanoid". A word that I'm particularly fond of. A humanoid is "something that has an appearance resembling a human being", according to the Wiki Gods. And it's a term that has fallen out of favor with the scientific community in the 21st century. Fuck those guys! I say we should bring back humanoid in a big way.  Maybe "Talk Like a Humanoid Day" or something.  I'm still working on my plan.  Where was I?

Oh yeah, Humanoids from the Deep. So there is this sleepy little drinking village with a fishing problem named Noyo in Northern California.  Seems that most of the population of the town make their money off of the salmon industry.  They pronounce it 'SAL-mon', although I don't know anyone who really says it that way. Then again, I don't live anywhere near the Pacific Northwest. They also seem to have some issue with the local Native American population who also depend on the SAL-mon runs for their livelihood.  But the Native Americans, of course, also care about the environment.  Something that a local cannery company, brilliantly called CanCo, could give two hoots about.  They want production and they want it fast. By any nefarious means possible.

But something is going on in the waters off of Noyo. Something...dum dum duh....sinister! People are dying or going missing.  Dogs are being ripped apart. Seaweed is being filmed by underwater cameras. OK, that last one isn't very sinister.  Except that there are creepy claws moving the seaweed aside. A claw that may or may not belong to a humanoid of some sort.  Most excellent.

A local scientist has arrived in town from CanCo to investigate what is happening in the water. She seems helpful and concerned, but she also seems to know a lot more about what is going on than she is offering up.  But as the attacks begin to ramp up, she if finally forced to fess up about the humanoids.

Seems that CanCo had been experimenting with genetically modifying the local SAL-mon population by using the ominous-sounding DNA-5 treatment.  DNA-5 is a super growth hormone, apparently. It doesn't really make the SAL-mon any bigger, but it accelerates the aging process. So baby SAL-mon become adult SAL-mon in a matter of days or weeks instead of however long it usually takes. Then a batch of the SAL-mon escape the hatchery into the wild. No big deal, right? Wrong. Seems an existing prehistoric fish called the coelacanth is also living in those waters. And they love to eat them some SAL-mon.  And adding the genetically-enhanced fish to the diet has mutated them. Forcing them through several evolutionary changes all in a short period of time. Into...humanoids!

That, my friends, is the kind of science that you CANNOT argue with.

Oh, and one more thing about these humanoids.  They are horny as fuck.  Seems that they need, I mean NEED, to procreate with human females to further advance their evolutionary agenda.  They decide the best way to do that is to get all rape-y with the town's lovely young ladies.  And I do mean lovely.  This brings about the full frontal nudity I mentioned earlier.  The film caught some slack for the graphic, violent and sexual nature of some of the scenes. Women's groups were especially upset with the film's director. A woman who they thought should have known better. Not really fair of them because most of those scenes were added after she had been fired by B-movie legend Roger Corman. To all that, my 13-year old inner-child says "whatever, dudes!" But that kid is a dick, so take it with a grain of salt. I will say that it's only a movie and a pretty poor one to boot. Exploitation flicks need lovin' too. Ahem.

All of this leads to one of the most ridiculous climaxes in motion picture history when the humanoids invade the town in force during the annual SAL-mon festival. They kill and rape with stunning aplomb. Especially considering the slow-moving, shambling wrecks that they are.  Let's just say that being named Miss SAL-mon does not end up well for one young lady.

So is it a good film? C'mon. But is it a good bad film? Absolutely.  If you go into it with the right attitude, it can even be a great bad film.

Next up: War of the Gargantuas (1968) - A film actually mentioned by Brad Pitt during the last Oscars telecast. How weird was that?

Mar 7, 2012

Brain derp dump

Just a few things that have been on my mind lately.  Hopefully if I put the words down here, then I can concentrate on more important things. Like recipes to post on our food blog. Yeah.
  • I generally don't wish harm on anyone, but can Pat Robertson just die already?  Preferably in a natural disaster of some sort.  That's how I enjoy my irony.
  • Speaking of public figures that should just die already....maybe the best way to stop Rush Limbaugh is to ignore him.  I really don't think it will work, but it's worth a shot!
  • Do yourself a favor, do a Google search for Big Ang (short for Angela) and watch a video or two of her if you can stomach it.  She's a "character" on the show Mob Wives on one of the cable channels. I should say she's a "cartoon character", because that's exactly what she reminds me of. I hate those reality shows with a passion, but the sheer ridiculousness of Big Ang makes me smile.
  • This Sarah Palin bio-pic coming to HBO looks...interesting.  I pause because I don't really think it's going to reveal anything that we don't already know. OK, she's not very intelligent or she was totally unprepared for national office. I get it. Julianne Moore sure looks the part though. Wow!
  • So some people think Kirk Cameron is still relevant?  Hmm...I'd worry about those people. More than what that dude has on his mind anyway. Now you want to see real crazy? Go check out what Victoria Jackson has been doing lately.
  • We watched the first 3 episodes of Homeland last night. Holy fucking fucking hell!  Great show, tense as all what-not.  Highest recommendation if you haven't already seen it. ain't for the faint of heart.  Or for the fart of taint. Huh?
  • Sybil Law is running for President. Finally, some political news that makes sense!
Du-di-du-da-du-di....that's all folks!

Mar 6, 2012

It's Educational!!!

Had something I really wanted to post about tonight, but I got wrapped up in a conversation on Twitter with Sybil and Marty about the Pixies. Then I forgot what I wanted to post about.

Shit happens.  So there's this:

The Pixies

In the sleepy west of the woody east
is a valley full, full o' pioneer
we're not just kids, to say the least
we got ideas to us that's dear
like capitalist, like communist
like lots of things you've heard about
and redneckers they get us pissed
and stupid stuff it makes us shout
oh dance with me oh don't be shy
oh kiss me cunt and kiss me cock
oh kiss the world oh kiss the sky
oh kiss my ass oh let it rock
of the april birds and the may-bee
oh baby
it's educational
it's educational
it's educational
it's educational
it's educational
it's educational
it's educational
it's educational
of massachusetts, please
and here's the last five
it's educational
it's educational
it's educational
it's educational
it's educational.

Mar 1, 2012

Browser ABC's

When it comes to computers, I'm still very much a keyboard/shortcut guy than a point and click guy.  I've been a high-level MS Excel user since it was invented, and I still start many of my tricks by hitting the old "/" menu key.  It's just habit. Ingrained by thousands and thousands of hours of use.

It comes across in my Internet use as well. Sure, I have lots of sites bookmarked.  But I find that I tend to just jump to the address bar in Firefox and start typing where I want to go and let my browser history find the site I want more than anything else. 

For example, I have this here blog bookmarked.  But when I want to go to it quickly, I jump to the address bar in my browser and type "B" and this is the first site that pops up. Easy peasy.  And quicker, for me, than finding it in my bookmarks.

So with that in mind, I've come up with a silly meme where you type in a letter in the address box of your browser and mark down the first site that pops up in your browser history.  Could be dangerous, could be boring...let's find out!

A - Amazon
B - The Verdant Dude (because the url is
C - Citibank
D - Deadspin (a sports/humor blog)
E - Erin O'Brien's blog
F - Filmdrunk (a film/humor blog)
G - Google Reader
H - Huffington Post
J - Just Talking to the Cornfield
K - Kongregate (a flash game site)
L - The LoHud Yankees Blog
M - Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest
N - Netflix
O - Overstock (haven't shopped there in years!)
P - Pandora
Q - The Interrobang (there's a Q in the subtitle someplace)
R - RW's new website
S - Slyde...ugh.
T - Twitter
U - Uni-Watch (an interesting site devoted entirely to sports uniforms)
V - Version53 - RW rears his head once again
W - The Weather boring.
X - Nothing. Nothing pops up for X. How weird is that? (Actually it was XM Radio...hehehe)
Y - Yahoo!
Z - This time really nothing. Just a bunch of urls that have random a random "z" in them.

OK, so that was pointless and boring. Tells us what we already know. I like baseball and movies.

Anyone got a good Z website I should start visiting?