Friday, March 30, 2012

Down With the System

I have a loose understanding of the metric system.  A liter? That's like half a soda bottle from Pizza Hut.  Meter? A pretty big yard. Kilometer? I'm not quite sure but I know from my speedometer they're less than a mile.  Celsius? Just tell me what it is in Fahrenheit.  You know, the system that doesn't use that ridiculous number 0 as the freezing point and sticks to the sensible 32.  The only one I know for sure is kilograms to pounds because of the gym.  What's 10 x 2.2?  22 lbs, perfect, let's do some bench press.

Now give me a #5 on the back and sides for my haircut.  You got it, no translation necessary.  As of yesterday, I have now had my hair cut in 3 different countries: the U.S., Spain, and Australia.  When I was in Spain I asked for my standard #5 after being assured they use the same system.  I trusted him enough to let him start, but only had faith in him once he was finished.  Legit #5.  Yesterday I decided to extend the questioning a little further, first with "Do you guys use the same system here?"  He tells me its "universal."  He is implying it is used everywhere, and I am astounded, but I inherently trust him more, because his English is better.  How is it exactly that hairdressers are the first to unite behind a universal system?  Is it because they have already adopted a common flag?  I know what you're thinking...the sciences do it too, but I'm talking about everyday civilians adopting the same units of measurement.  If I walk into a Somalian village and ask for a #5, I can only assume I'd hear "No problem mate," but delivered in a series of clicks and mouth pops.

(Chill, that was a joke about hairdressers)

I inquired as to what the system for buzz cuts was based on, "Does a #5 mean 5mm?" my lack of knowledge of the metric system on clear display.  He examined his razor, "it's 16mm."  I blush.  How could I really think my hair was 1/3 the length that it is?  I attempted to play it off as he kindly tried to assuage my concerns to little avail.

How is it that in an era of rapid globalization, the rest of the world still refuses to adopt the American system of measurement?

But seriously...

We have enhanced the spelling of "color" by dumping the "u", why waste time?  I realize why we have switched "s"s to "z"s all over the place; in this land of equal opportunity, let's give "z" a real shot.  I strongly support whichever side of the road it is we drive on.  I have a hard time remembering after 2 months in Australia where I just walk around confused all the time, head on a swivel, but it is blatantly obvious that I wouldn't be able to operate a stick shift with my left hand as I have a hard enough time occasionally depressing the clutch.  But what was so wrong with a meter that we decided to cut off a few inches?  Now if you came and told me that the length of George Washington's stride was the exact length of a yard, I would be all for it.  I am very pro-adoption of systems of measurement that use our great leader's gait as a standard.  Unfortunately that isn't the case.  According to Wikipedia, "The customary system was championed by the United States-based International Institute for Preserving and Perfect­ing Weights and Measures in the late 19th century. Advocates of the customary system saw the French Revolutionary, or metric, system as atheistic."  Sounds like the perfect time to bring back the metric system to the U.S., half of today's youth are atheists anyway.

Wikipedia goes on to include a poem written by an auxiliary of the Institute of Ohio (I don't even know what that means):

    Then down with every "metric" scheme

        Taught by the foreign school,

    We'll worship still our Father's God!

        And keep our Father's "rule"!

    A perfect inch, a perfect pint,

        The Anglo's honest pound,

    Shall hold their place upon the earth,

        Till time's last trump shall sound!

Perhaps the metric system being taught in schools should be up for debate along with evolution.  Clearly the inch is God's system.  He did create men with about 6 of them attached (or closer to 4 if you're Japanese, sorry guys).  No need for concern, that is not a link to a dick pic, but a map showing average penis size by country.  I made sure to remove "average penis size by country" from my search window and close the tab on that immediately after use.  Length of use unspecified.

It seems like it is time for our country to finally adopt one of the ways of the rest of the world, or perhaps fight a war on measurement systems.  Either way, I appreciate the idea of a universal system.  I don't want to ask someone how tall they are and have no idea what they're telling me.  I don't want to have that brief moment of excitement where I'm like "holy shit gas prices are cheap here" until I realize they are selling by the liter instead of the gallon.  I want that easy facilitation of transactions and information exchange.  You know what's happening, I know what's happening, let's get this shit done.

Oh, and Great Britain what is it with you and your stones?  That is not a real unit of measurement.  "I weigh 14 stone."  Well how big of a stone are we talking about here?  We know you built the Stonehenge, get over it.

And a very loose tie-in to the title...I ain't gonna be part of your system.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Can't Stop Won't Stop

Disclaimer: I realize I like to make a lot of references to things I have seen on TV or movies.  If you see something that just shoots over your head or seems irrationally obscene, just assume it was a reference to something.  Ben Stiller shot a pony that was a gift for a little girl in the film "Starsky and Hutch."  There are others, and there will be more.  I like to occassionally limit my target audience to 15% of the readers, sometimes less, much to Evan's chagrin.

Carry on.


Throughout my life I have tried many different things.  In some I have succeeded to a high level: academics up until lollege, swimming up until my senior year and my not-so-mysterious disappearance from the roster, coaching swimming and diving, etc.  In others I have failed abysmally: trying out for the basketball team as a freshman in HS (they didn't want a 5'1" PG who couldn't dribble), trying out for the soccer team all four years of HS (made JV junior year...and I was actually a pretty good soccer player, fuck tryouts), academics in lollege.  But one thing I have generally never done is quit on something I really wanted to be successful at.  I have to qualify that because I legitimately quit on college sometime during junior year, albeit it was not really a conscious decision. 

Today, I want to quit poker.

I don't really want to quit poker, but I want to take a really long break.  Unfortunately at this time in my life, I can't really afford to (obviously when I need it the most I can afford it the least).  The emotional toll it has taken on me over the last 6 weeks has been enormous.  I have periods of recovery and even a couple of 4-5 day stretches where I just crushed the games but in the end it just comes back to the same thing: I have no luck here in Australia.  I am not one to believe that some people run worse than others.  If I was I absolutely would not believe that I was one of those to suffer from the bad end of variance.  Lately, however, I have been on the very worst end of it, and it just doesn't seem to stop.  I am being mentally waterboarded.  I'd like to think if the guys in Guantanamo were given the chance they'd be screaming at the top of their lungs every once in a while as well.  Our neighbors must think we're psychotic.  You must think I'm psychotic, especially for trying to make a comparison to waterboarding.

You remember the part in "I Love You Man" where they go underneath the boardwalk and scream at the top of their lungs (and thankfully don't have the misfortune of running into two bums fucking)?  I want that so badly.  I want a beautifully padded wall to just beat the crap out of until I have no energy left and collapse to the ground.  I want a baseball bat and a fax machine and "Damn it Feels Good to Be a Gangsta" blasting in the background.

I won't stop.  Somehow every time I sit down to write these blogs it ends up me writing out a personal pep talk.  There's another entire blog that I wrote, nay, two, that are much the same thing but I wrote half of them, got crushed the next day, and didn't feel like finishing them.  Well guess what, I'm finishing this motherfucker, and I'm going to steal a couple paragraphs from unfinished blogs: Go.

For some reason, poker stifles my desire to write.  I guess that reason would likely be that my mind is on this incessant loop.  The elements of the loop aren't always the same.  My mind thinks about all sorts of things: "please God let there be sun tomorrow, I haven't been to the beach in 5 days...I wonder how many shots my boy Nick Young put up tonight...I hope the Asian girl is at circuit training I need to do laundry today? nah still one more pair of boxers...damn't she's not here, maybe I should just do elliptical today...what the hell should I write about..what's the most random evil Disney character to think you're possessed by?"  Things like that.  But one thing is always in the loop: poker.  And lately with how poorly things have been going, the loop keeps getting shorter and shorter, leaving far too many good things out and poker with a grossly high time of possession.  Insert witty reference to random British Premier League team that plays with a stupidly high time of possession and compare them to poker.  Or maybe just Italy? I am man enough to not research this in the slightest and instead proffer myself to embarrassment.  I'm also just going to drop proffer in there and hope it makes sense.  I actually did look up the definition on this one and it seemed like it could potentially make sense.  That's really all I can hope for.

Sometimes I want to play poker, but I fear playing poker.  It is like someone who has been stung by a bee being near a beehive again.  There is that uneasiness, a fear of being stung again.  Why didn't we learn the first time?  Poker is a huge fucking bee's nest and it is going to sting the shit out of me.  Just like the bee that stung me underneath our porch in Amherst when my sister asked me to go get the cotton swabs she had just dropped off the porch.  Yeah that's right, I didn't forget.

In the end, each morning I wander into the living room ready to get back on the grind.  Coming off good days I always feel great and ready to go, and even coming off bad days I'm normally very motivated to conquer the game.  One of these days the results will follow.


There are so many other things that I find interesting and want to write about but when it comes time to write I can't stop talking about poker.  One thing I will say is I can't wait to follow the NCAA tournament this year.  Sadly I don't think we'll be able to get a lot of games here but I'll find a way to stream all the Mizzou games online.  I really hope we can make a big run this year because we're gonna get our asses kicked next year.  We only play 7 to begin with, and 5 of them are seniors...not good.  Maybe this is the year of the 4-guard team.

I had a link for a great article about the tournament ( but it doesn't seem to be working now which is sad.  It was supposed to make my lack of a segue much more natural.

Below is a graph showing where my results in Australia stand after 6 weeks here.  Should be pretty apparent why its been so frustrating...expected results go up, actual results just chill.  Note that the swings have gotten a bit crazier in the last 50k hands because I've started playing $1/$2 PLO as well...thankfully I have a backer for that.

Good things are coming, at least I hope.