Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Bonus Events!

If you're anything like me, you love the Olympics. I really wanted to compete in the Games when I was younger, even demolishing my body in the attempt. Unfortunately it turned out that I had barely any shred of natural talent for judo. So for all the moms at home: Yes, you can tell your kids that hard work will get you anywhere. But, uh... yeah. There's limits. (btw, a lot of people have been asking me just what the f happened in the men's -66kg final. The answer is: It was the right call, and I stuck an explanation at the bottom of the post if you want more details)

The thing with the Olympics is that the chances of medalling vary wildly depending on the sport you. Now, much has been written about "Boo... it's not fair that swimmers/runners/speed skaters/etc. get more chances at medals than, say, team handball" (btw, funny article about team handball here). Hey, I've been one of those people. But then I started thinking... it's not fair that those sports should have medals taken away from them. We should just add more to all of the other events! Think about it: All of venues are already built. Let's just use them more! (btw, I'm apparently going for gold on uses of colons, ellipses, and use of "btw" in this post). After all, judo hands out two bronzes, so who am I to argue about additional medals?

Let's use swimming as a template. Swimming can be summed up as "getting from Point A to Point B in water". But they're not content to just vary the distances like running and skating do. No, swimming says "No, no, no... it's also about how you get from Point A to Point B!". Brilliant! So without further ado, let's run through all of the Summer Olympic events and see where we can't spice things up a bit with a new medal-winning opportunity.

  • Archery
    • Right now archery is all about shooting at a bulls-eye (70m) as an individual or team and blah blah blah... since when has archery ever been about shooting a stationary target?
      • Option 1: Hunting
        • Model animals go roaring past on rails, or fake birds get lobbed into the air. Each one has a target on it. Bonus points if you hit a real-live seagull during the event.
      • Option 2: Team Downrange
        • In this one you have a blindfolded archer who is told where to fire by a teammate. That teammate is downrange holding a shield with a target painted on it. They can run around and try to catch the arrow. Steps should be taken to ensure the safety of the catcher so maybe they could have a bike helmet on or something.
  • Badminton
    • Right now you have Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles. Have you watched it? It's not fast enough, but there's an easy way to fix it:
      • Double Racket
        • Can you imagine this? Two dudes with a Racket in each hand just freaking givin' 'er? I'd watch that.
  • Basketball
    • H.O.R.S.E. Nothing spices things up like a trick-shot competition.
      • LEBRON JAMES: "Off the bald I.O.C. guy's head, into the basket"
      • BALD IOC GUY:   "What? Ungh..."
  • Beach/Indoor Volleyball
    • Same rules, but you can only use your feet. The Incas did this, but the losing team got beheaded. We don't need to go that far, but I wouldn't say no to some noogies for the loser, just to keep it authentic.
  • Boxing
    • Can't we all just agree that MMA is waaay more popular than boxing at this point? Let's just add an MMA event, call it Pankration to tie it in to ancient Greece, and watch the ratings pour in.
  • Canoe/Kayak
    • There's both sprint (like rowing) and whitewater obstacle-style races. Let's address them separately.
      • Option 1: Team Kayak (winter)
        • Kayaking came from the Inuit, and if you haven't noticed, the north pole is cold. Take this out, throw it into the winter Olympics, and have them navigate ice-floes.
          • Optional: Stick a fake whale in the water for them to chase down and harpoon.
      • Option 2: Authentic Canoeing
        • Have you seen the canoes they use at the Olympics? Honestly, it looks like a sanded 2x4 that the canoererer (how do you spell this???) somehow kneels on. That doesn't look anything like the canoes used in the real world. My proposal:
        • Each competitor's canoe has an extra seat in the front. 5-year old children are chosen at random from the audience and inserted into the seat for the duration of the race. At the half-way point the paddler has to serve the child lunch.
  • Cycling
    • There are so many different cycling races that I can barely keep track. Honestly, look at this list. Let's just break it down into a simpler list: Road, Track (velodrome), Mountain Bike, BMX. I'll give each one an additional medal, although it should be noted that there are already 18 biking medals. However, since they seem so pumped about using different kinds of bikes I'm going to insist we keep that theme for the new medals.
      • Road: Old-School
        • You know those bikes with the ENORMOUS front wheel? YEEAAAHHH!!! How great would that be? And why wasn't this included for London? They could have made everyone grow handlebar moustaches. Even the women.
      • Track: Laid-back
        • Recumbent bikes. I just think it would look hilarious.
      • Mountain Bike: Ball-buster
        • Unicycles. We're going to make this a co-ed race, the women would absolutely dominate.
      • BMX: Tandem
        • 2-Seater bikes going off jumps? Yes please.
  • Diving
    • They already have platform, springboard, synchronized, etc. But come on... they left out an obvious event:
      • Cannonball:
        • The USA would dominate, although Japan would give them a run for their money when they send all their Sumo fighters. Maybe we have weight classes for this?
  • Equestrian
    • How about they include a financial-class event, where the family's yearly income has to be less than $500k/year? Sorry, had to get that out.
    • My beef here is that you have people competing for something like 75 years because they can just get a new horse every time their old one gets sent to the glue factory. So we need to add an event that either negates the horse somewhat or takes into account the, oh I don't know, athleticism of the rider.
      • Option 1: Wild-West
        • The event starts with the rider having to sprint at the horse and then leap onto it from behind like in western movies. At some point they have to steer with only their legs and shoot a rifle at a target (hey, it's not so crazy. Look at biathlon)
      • Option 2: Menagerie Medley
        • "Ooooh, look at me. I'm a horse. I'm so special because people ride me." Well you know what horse? You're not the only animal people ride. I propose an event in which you have to ride in sequence: a) a donkey, b) a mule, c) a horse, d) an elephant. In the event of a tie you have to ride a Bengal tiger because seriously, no rich kid is going to get on top of a Bengal tiger. See if that doesn't level the playing field a bit.
  • Fencing
    • They already have foil, sabre, and epee. I would add claymore. I'll let you decide which of these photos is more awesome: Photo 1, Photo 2
  • Field hockey
    • Holy crap, I have no idea. Indoor Field Hockey? Let's just move on.
  • Gymnastics (Artistic, aka "hucking your body around events")
    • Add a separate event for people past the age of 17? JUST KIDDING*. They can probably get away with just adding a new apparatus. They already have parallel bars, horizontal bars, balance beam, pommel horse, vault, rings, and floor; lord only knows how they came up with that list. Seems a bit random, doesn't it? In keeping with that theme I'm going to pop over to excel and grab 4 letters at random to use in making my new apparatus...
    • Ok, I have to use the letters GJLX. Ouchie. Do any words exist with those letters? Time to consult a scrabble word finder (which I don't use when I play. You don't have to when you play Fraleigh... BA-ZING!).
    • Whoops, apparently there are no words of 12 letters or less using those letters. I'm gonna have to bust this out into two words...
    • And our new event is... Coxal Jumping! I can only assume this involves sitting on the floor and leaping as high as you can into the air. I'm predicting demonstration sport in 2016, off the roster in 2020.
  • Gymnastics (Rhythmic, aka "child's toys")
    • Ok, this is the child's toy event, right? I mean... hula hoops, balls, ribbons, and clubs? Well, maybe not clubs. That's probably not a suitable child's toy. Maybe that's what this event needs, more weapons! I say we let the girls incorporate any of the fencing swords, and we bust out "Rhythmic Claymore Gymnastics" as it's own separate event.
  • Handball
    • See "Hockey, Field"
  • Judo
    • I think we can all agree that judo is pretty much perfect as it is, but I would add the classic "Open" category, where there are no weight restrictions.
      • Yeah, I know. Not funny. But hey, make your own list.
  • Modern Pentathlon
    • Currently consists of pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, riding, running. It's meant to simulate what a turn-of-the-century message carrier might encounter during wartime. Shouldn't we add an updated version? Most people have never been in a war though, so we should use war movies as our inspiration:
      • Super-Modern Pentathlon Events:
        • 1) Mowing down a forest with a chaingun.
        • 2) Bare-handed neck snapping.
        • 3) Slowly emerging from the water with a vicious look on your face. Must go undetected by the judges.
        • 4) Tank-hijacking, then driving down an obstacle course on a crowded city street.
        • 5) Sprinting, then diving as a building blows up behind you. Points are given for distance and facial expression.
  • Rowing
    • New event: Rowboats. Not the fancy schmancy kind they currently use, I'm talking about the god-forsaken rowboats I've used that are twice as wide as they are long. Take that, rowers.
  • Sailing
    • New event: Piracy. You try and board each other's ships, last man standing wins.
  • Shooting
    • Well heck, this could be anything. Let's just throw bazooka into there and be done with it.
  • Soccer/Football
    • It's a big sport, but there's a few ways to a switch it up a bit:
      • Option 1: Co-ed
        • Not only would it be fun to see how the players incorporate the different genders, but it would be great to see who goes ballistic when one of the girls is spiked by a guy on the other team. In order of which country's guys would get most angry I'd say 1) USA, 2) Canada (because they REALLY need the girls to win), and 3)  Germany . Greece would just field 5 players (Seriously Greece... your women's team is ranked 59th? Behind soccer powerhouses like Vietnam and Chinese Taipei? For Allah's sake, you're ranked behind Iran's women's team!).
      • Option 2: Indoor
        • This would be insanely fast. Downside is the need for a new venue.
      • Option 3: Charlie Brown Soccer
        • Did you ever play this as a kid? Straight-up soccer, but with two balls. How awesome would that be? Complete chaos, more scoring, and teams would be desperate to try and get both balls under control at once. I'm all in on this one.
  • Swimming
    • This is the one that kicked it off. It basically seems like each event is based on varying degrees of efficiency moving through the water, so I'd say we add:
      • Option 1: Dog Paddle
        • Come on, this makes no less sense than the butterfly stroke does.
      • Option 2: Underwater Swim
        • This actually used to be an event. With underwater cameras this could work nowadays.
      • Option 3: Upright Swim
        • The speed-walking equivalent. You can't go below 80 degrees from vertical. Hey look swimming, you started it.
      • Option 4: Water Hurdles
        • I'm taking this from track. Stick a bar underwater at the halfway point for the athletes to swim under!
  • Synchronized Swimming
    • Just add a men's event already. It's sexist right now and besides, the whole world is missing out on some serious comedy. Plus, I'd like to see what an Arabic country's men's synchro routine looks like.
  • Table Tennis
    • Swap the ping-pong ball for one of those super-bouncy balls everyone had as a kid. Man, that sucker would move.
  • Taekwondo
    • Wrestling has versions where some things are allowed and others aren't. I think there's opportunity here. Taekwondo should add a division with headbutting.
  • Tennis
    • Tennis competes on different surfaces: Grass, Clay, Hardcourt. Olympics should do something to stand out. Like adding a teflon surface.
  • Track and Field
    • Ok, this is a huge freaking category and it's already a long post so let's just add an event for each:
      • Track: Cartwheels and/or Backwards Running
        • Hey, if swimming can just change the way you get from Point A to Point B, why can't track? I'd like to see the 100m cartwheel, wouldn't you? In fact, we should add a fourth mode of transport so they can do a 4x100 medley. Let's say Cartwheels, Backwards Running, Skipping (your hands have to alternate which side of your body they're on with each step), and "Freestyle".
      • Field: Baseball Bat Spin
        • Remember when you were a kid and you'd have a sports day or something and they'd get you to spin around with your forehead planted on a baseball bat sticking vertically from the ground? It'd make you super dizzy and you could barely run straight. You could add that to anything! I mean how funny would it be to see high jump or pole vault... no wait, they'd kill themselves. What about javelin or discus or... no, they'd kill someone else. Hell, they'd probably break a leg just doing long jump. Ok, I'm changing this one.
      • Field: Obstacle Course
        • I would love to see some sort of obstacle course. Can you imagine? You'd be blown away when some guy roars up a cargo net or hurdles a 12 foot wall like it was nothing. Make this happen I.O.C.
  • Triathlon
    • Toss in an Ironman division (can you tell I'm running out of juice?)
  • Water Polo
    • Let them use their horses. Ok, I should be shot for using that joke.
  • Weightlifting
    • Take a page out of the Highland Games/World's Strongest Man here. I want caber toss and truck pulling dammit!
  • Wrestling
    • SUMO!

*I'm actually not.

I think the best part about the Olympics is hitting the refresh button on the website. It's so thrilling. "What happened? Has someone done something amazing since the last time I hit 'refresh'?" I mean, nothing captures the thrill of an Olympic moment like seeing it displayed in text on a computer screen.


Honestly? How is it that my dorm room 15 years ago had better internet connectivity than a country that ostensibly holds 4 of the 10 most livable cities in the world? And why is nothing shown live on the internet? Waaaa??? Given how pumped Oz is about their amateur sports teams I assumed people would actually be interested in watching them compete. But No Cable TV = No Olympics for you. AAAARRGHHHH!!!

Therein ends the humour portion of this post. The part down here is just, y'know, other stuff.

Men's -66 kg Judo Quarterfinal Explained:
For those who are interested, and I can't imagine who wouldn't be, here's why the -66kg judo quarterfinal was correctly overturned:

Ebimuna almost scored in Golden Score, which should have been enough to give him the win. This is why the crowd went bonkers when the match was awarded to Cho – if the judges had to go to video review on Ebimuna's throw it should have been good enough to award him kinsa (advantage). Since the winner is supposed to be the player with the most decisive technique in GS, that kinsa meant it should have been Ebimuna. That’s why the IJF got involved.

In the old days it was about who was more aggressive overall, which may be why they called Cho on the mat; old habits die hard. They’ve changed the rules though so players are more decisive in their attacks instead of just trying to look busy.

The IJF put a full explanation up on their website:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The 12 Styles of Facebook Posting

I like facebook, it's an experiment in psychology. Just by watching posting style you kind of get a feel for who a person is or where they're at in their lives. Then after a little bit you realize there's only so many kinds of facebook poster, and everyone pretty much fits into one of those categories.

By now you've probably begun to suspect that I'm going to list these different styles of facebook posting and then make jokes about them.

Well you're right! So without further ado, here are the 12 styles of facebook posting. Everyone slots into at least one of these categories, whether they know it or not:

STYLE 1: The Lurker
You know that spot in the upper-right corner of the page? Where it’s just a stream of people who are on facebook? You ever notice the person who has never, ever, posted anything? Yeah, that guy.

STYLE 2: The Cryptic
The people whose status updates could be anything up to and including: A deeply personal moment, a request for a follow up, a mistyped note, or possibly just poorly translated Hungarian.

STYLE 3: The Oversharer
The person where you’re left going “WHOA! I could have lived a happy life without ever knowing that.”

STYLE 4: The Linker
Just a nonstop barrage of links to different things. Generally includes at least one LOL Cat and an XKCD Comic.

STYLE 5: The Activist
WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!! (disclaimer… I’m a little bit this at times)

STYLE 6: The Dead Profile
One day they just stopped posting. Nobody mentioned anything happening to them but it's been too long and now you’re afraid to ask.

STYLE 7: The Mom-whose-only-means-of-contact-with-the-outside-world-is-Facebook
No picture here… because I’m terrified of them. They are itching for a reason to get away from their kids, and at this point I’m betting that murdering me seems like a good reason. They’d get away with it too… so long as there’s one stay-at-home mom on that jury it’s never coming out unanimous.

STYLE 8: The Networker
19/20 posts are about “some great info they just wanted to pass along”. Uses HootSuite.

STYLE 9: The Emo Venter
Every post sounds like Alanis Morissette lyrics. Also, every joke post I could write would immediately offend someone. You can’t be so over the top that you can top an Emo Venter, it would sound like I’m mocking their angst.

STYLE 10: The Drunk Poster
Really, really shouldn’t do this.

STYLE 11: The Facebook Game Blitzkrieger

“Did you know that my plants need watering so I can chop some wood in the hopes that my lost cow comes home and I’ll be able to bake some dinner before the customers get angry and I have to run from the mafia? No? Huh... 'cause I could really use the help.”
Side note: I'm just cracking jokes about the facebook games. It’s easy enough to block them if you don’t want to see them so it’s not nearly the issue it was in the early days of facebook, and some of the most interesting things going on in gaming are happening on facebook.

STYLE 12: The Whitewasher
Real life ≠ Facebook

And yes, I realize I have written facebook everywhere, not Facebook. It's lower case on their logo though, so it's kind of a gray area.

Yesterday we saw Aida at the Sydney Opera House. It was a great show, although Aida really drags in the 3rd act. Clearly that's not the point of the tangent.

Opera is awesome because none - and I mean none - of the things that limit your success in high school have any effect on your opera career. Not that I could see anyway. That stage had skinny people, fat people; black, white, purple people; dancers, and people who could barely move. Dorky, funky, ripped, nerdy... you name it, it was represented. It was a freaking United Nations of folks out there. Granted you've gotta have a banging set of pipes on you, but you're always going to have to bring something to the table.

So... yeah. Opera.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Nefarious Tactics of Brazilian BBQ

Quick aside to start things off: Complete Tangent now has its own URL: So yay me! Also, there are now no restrictions on posting, you don't need to be logged in anywhere and I know some people got annoyed. So post away if you're so inclined. Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging:

Last weekend we went to a Brazilian BBQ place, a first-time experience for me. In case you aren't familiar with this experience it is as follows:

  1. Pay a flat price.
  2. Desperately try to cram $45 worth of meat into your face-hole.

While this is the concept in it's simplicity, I think we can all agree that any business plan revolving around giving the customer as much as they want of the most expensive thing on the menu is not one destined for success. So the only hope a restaurant like this has for ensuring financial gain is to make sure that no matter how much meat you plan to eat, you never achieve that goal. And the way they do this is through the Nefarious Tactics.

Let's all just pause for a moment and remember that they're better at this than you. You're going to walk in there thinking "Man, they are going to have to cart me out of there in a wheelbarrow, it's gonna be great." No, that's not going to happen. You can try and implement the plan, but they will mitigate their losses somehow using one of the tactics below. So while it is my hope that this post will be of some help in giving you the meat sweats and keytone-induced headache you're looking for; it's going to require a championship effort on your part just to break even. But you need the knowledge first, so let's have at it:

Nefarious Tactic #1: The Cheese Ball
"Hello sir! So glad to have you with us tonight. It is a Brazilian custom that I first provide you with the traditional breaded cheese ball to start your evening. I will also remain here to watch you consume it. Eventually you will become so uncomfortable that you will eat it no matter what your intentions. It is tradition!*"

This is how they start the evening - with a small lump of condensed fat. As we all know, cheese kills appetite, and they mask this meat-reducing fat ball under the guise of tradition. Don't listen! Feign lactose intolerance!

Nefarious Tactic #2: Sides
"Here is the menu of side dishes. I would suggest maybe the rice? Or possibly some black beans?"
"Do you have any salad?"
"Certainly sir! I shall bring you five plates of our excellent potato salad."

Side dishes are a full-on meat blocker. If they can find any way to jam some cheap carbs into you they'll do it, knowing that you're going to feel as though you should order something to go with your meat. And if you go all leafy-green on them they can still fire up...

Nefarious Tactic #3: The Unordered Side Dishes
"They are complementary! Everyone gets these, it wouldn't be Brazilian BBQ without them!"

Here are the four sides that we got without even ordering. They give them to everyone whether they want them or not, knowing people will feel obligated to try them:

  1. Tomato Salsa - Not a bad one. Just meant to accentuate the meats. It can't all be a ploy after all.
  2. Pimentas Malaguetta, AKA Brazilian Chillies - Like the Salsa, also fine. Hey, maybe I was wrong about this stuff!
  3. Farofa, AKA Roasted Cassava Flour - Say whaaat? Roasted flour? How is that ever a good idea? By the way, if you didn't know what Cassava is, it's a woody carbohydrate root similar to a really starchy potato. Just what you want when you're looking for a meat belly, right?
  4. Deep fried Banana, Cassava, and Polenta - If you had any questions about what is going on here, this should clear things right up. That's three - count them, THREE - different kinds of carbs that have been deep fried for crying out loud. It's like three different kinds of potato chips! FYI, none of these things are as expensive as meat.

So that's it for the non-meat-stick group. Now let's look at what tactics are employed on the meat sticks themselves:

Nefarious Tactic #4: The "Are you kidding me?" Meats
"Sir, you have never tried chicken hearts? That is the most delightful part of the chicken! Really, you should try several, just so you may say you have. If that is not to your liking, I understand. If it is not too much to ask though, would you mind if I inquire whether your wife would like the company of a real man this evening? What a silly question... of course you would not mind! You would not even eat a chicken heart!"

I'm not kidding here. There was a guy walking around with chicken hearts, and he was bee-lining it to the most buff alpha-dogs he could find. You'd see a short conversation, then the waiter would shrug, followed by the guy getting a macho look and a mouthful of chicken heart. Yeahhhh... not sure I need to be that macho. Besides, I had a grilled-cheese and chicken heart sandwich for lunch so I was all good.

Nefarious Tactic #5: Garlic Bread Guy
"Gaaaarlic bread... gaaaarlic bread! Who wants garlic bread? You do. So do you. That whole table does. It's garlic bread! GARLIC BREAD FOR EVERYONE!"

I like garlic bread as much as the next guy, probably much, much, much more to be honest. But I was not going to be seduced by the buttery goodness of garlic bread. Make sure you're not either.

The Coup de Grace Nefarious Tactic: The Pineapple Finisher
"Everyone at this table is going to eat this pineapple right now. RIGHT NOW!"

This is the one that finally got me. They bring out this roasted pineapple on a stick that's covered in cinnamon and sugar, then carve off big hunks for everyone to mow down on. It's absolutely fantastic and they will jam as much of it into you as they can. The reason this is the most nefarious of the nefarious tactics is because they know that once you've had the deliciously sweet pineapple, the idea of chowing back some beef ribs suddenly feels unpalatable. I think there's some sort of formula they employ that leads to a guy in some back room screaming "I need a pineapple stopper on Table 14 STAT!" once a group gets too close to their meat/profit threshold.
That said, I'm pretty proud that I made them bring out the Pineapple Finisher three times.

So now you're well informed for the next time you go to Brazilian BBQ.

*I'd like to point out that I have absolutely no idea how to write in a Portuguese accent so I'm just going with what I think is funniest.

I recognize that everyone gets old. Hey, it happens. It's not like I'm a doddering old man mind you, and I still have a full head of hair (shut it Morphy). I creak a little more than usual, but I also severely abused my body in the judo years so that's to be expected. But for the love of god can't I just go a whole night's sleep without getting up to go pee? At what age did my bladder suddenly morph into that of a 9-year old girl on a long car ride?

I now average one pee every 2 hours at night... every 2 hours! That's insane! I'll go 12 hours during the daytime and not pee, but now I can't go a measly 120 minutes while I'm sleeping? Am I sleep-guzzling water? Am I unconsciously standing at the sink with my eyes closed in the middle of the night while repeatedly refilling a 4L milk jug with water and knocking it back, only to stumble into my bed and wake up thinking "Man, I really gotta go"?

No! That's not it at all! And do you know how I know? Because I wake up every morning feeling completely dehydrated. It's like I spent the entire night eating dust and ground-up sponges! So now I'm wandering around in the night, eating dust and ground-up sponges, shunning water, and only returning to bed every two hours so I can wake up and go pee.

Getting old sucks.

Last week I wrote about how ridiculous it is that in tennis they would use a word like "Love" to represent a number instead of just using the number itself. And then I thought about Canadian coins: penny, nickel, dime, quarter, loonie, toonie. Yeah, so... people in glass houses.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tennis Scoring is Hella Weird

Wimbeldon is fantastic. I get sucked in most years, although I was a bit bummed this year since the time difference meant I wasn't able to watch much of it (although Erika and I did see some when we were in Jervis Bay - see below). I've been watching it since I was a kid... and I still don't understand why they score it the way they do. Shouldn't this be easy to work out in today's age of knowledge-at-the-fingertips internet? Nope, not here.

Scoring in tennis: Love, 15, 30, 40. Tie at 40 and it's Deuce. Score and you have Advantage, score again and you win, otherwise it's back to Deuce for you.

What? Is there another sport on the planet that uses a word instead of a number?

Commentator 1:  Well Jim, that was quite the touchdown.

Commentator 2:  You bet Bob. That puts them up 12 to Horseradish. Gonna be tough to dig themselves out of that hole.

Commentator 1:  You can say that again Jim.

In a quest to determine the origins of this bizarre scoring system I resorted to the internet. It appears as though there's two competing theories. Why are there more than one? Shouldn't it be common knowledge within the world of tennis why their scoring works this way? Nope. Regardless, the one thing everyone agrees on is that it's French. You can insert your own joke here.

THEORY A: The Clock-Face
Yes, this idea revolves around the idea that they used a gigantic clock to do the scoring, thus the 15, 30, 45... once around and you win the game. Except that they use 40, not 45. That was so they could do the whole Deuce thing by making it 40, then 50, then... WHY ARE YOU USING A CLOCK TO SCORE YOUR SPORT? Am I insane for thinking this is the most ridiculous idea in the world? Numbers were invented 5000 years ago, just use those! Kids playing H.O.R.S.E. with a basketball use a more logical system than incorporating a clock into your sport in any way that doesn't involve "keeping time". Let's move on.

THEORY B: The Jeu de Paume Argument
This one makes so much more sense than Theory A that I don't even know why Theory A exists.
It goes like this: There's this French sport called jeu de paume that tennis came from; it kind of looks like barehanded tennis. Each player started 45 feet from the net. Win a point and you move 15 feet closer. Win again and you get another 15 feet. One more point and you only get 10 feet, because now you're 5 feet from the net.

How is Theory A even on the table at this point? Everything about Theory B totally explains the scoring in a perfectly logical and coherent manner. I'm officially putting Theory A to bed. Attention Clock Theory supporters: You are now officially lumped in with people who don't think NASA put a man on the moon, that Obama wasn't born in Hawaii, or who think fluoride is a mind-control substance the government puts in the water.

None of this, of course, explains the use of the term "Love" to indicate zero. Here's the theories on that riddle:

This is based on the idea that the word "Love" sounds like l'oef, aka the French word for egg. Because, y'know, a zero looks like an egg. Why on earth would you opt to use a word that looks like the number instead of the word that means the number?

Commentator 1:  GOOOOAAAAAAAL!!!

Commentator 2:  That was absolutely incredible Bob! Really fantastic. With that goal the score is now Sideways Mickey Ears - Pencil, and I think that in getting up by a Swan they've really put this game out of reach.

THEORY N: The Hour
This says that it's because Love sounds like l'heure, or "Hour", instead of egg. Thus, according to Theory A (the clock face), you are "on the hour" at the start of a game. This sounds more reasonable than the egg theory, but has to be ruled out anyway because we already know that Theory A is only for conspiracy theorists.

One more note on Theories M and N. The French refer to "Love" as Zéro. In case you don't speak French, that's "Zero" in English. Sooo... yeah. If the French don't say egg or hour, and instead use the actual number, I'm not sure why these theories exist in the first place.

THEORY O: The Dutch
Somehow it's been proposed that the the Dutch are responsible in that Love comes from "iets voor lof doen", which apparently means "to do something for praise, implying no monetary stakes". This argument makes not even a shred of sense, and I can only assume it appeared in Europe at roughly the same time opium did.

THEORY P: Let's Hug It Out
This one says that at the start of the game the players still have love for each other. In short, we don't have any idea why they use the word "Love". Every idea is equally bizarre.

I have additional  theories on the term "Deuce", but I'll keep them to myself. I'm trying to reduce the number of bathroom references in this blog.

Erika and I went down to Jervis Bay and saw kangaroos:

I know this looks fun and all, but look at the freaking claws on that kangaroo! Seriously folks, a kangaroo can eff you up. Not only does it have the wicked werewolf claws in the front, but also the mean-ass single, long claw on its hind legs that I can only assume are for disemboweling foolish children. I think kangaroos are secretly meat-eaters.

They look fun when they're hopping though:

It was a good time.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Burning House

Through the wonders of facebook I have been introduced to the greatest humour site on the internet. It is called The Burning House:

On this site, people are supposed to list what they would take with them if their house were on fire. I suppose this is supposed to be an exercise in what really matters to you as a person, but there is one little wrinkle a lot of these people ignored: YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE!

Based on that sole criteria, this is the funniest concoction of mistaken priorities I have ever seen. Maybe it's just because Erika and I have been robbed so many times but good lord - two people said they'd take their lip balm! Lip balm? You're grabbing lip balm? Do you have any idea how hot a house fire burns? 800 degrees! Do you know what the heat is where your skin will explode into a showery rain of bone chips and bacon fat? Here's a tip: It's not 800 degrees! No wonder you need lip balm.

Let's walk through some lists and see if we can't help pare them down a little. Remember: These are things that you're prepared to pause and look for while burning timbers are crashing around you and flames are licking at your Birkenstocks (out of respect for the people who've posted I have changed their names):

Contestant #1

Name: Emma Packrat
Age: 22
Location: Herefordshire

  • Olympus OM10, it’s light and I could get the images developed anywhere without assistance from a computer.
    • Well that didn't take long. Folks, back up your stuff off-site. FYI, plenty of places to do it for free; Microsoft Skydrive and Amazon Cloud Drive spring to mind. Not exactly fly-by-night companies. "But I don't like Big Corporations" you say. Really? More than you dislike your flesh burning? That's a hell of a vendetta.
  • Ipod
    • mm'kay. I'm thinking Apple has made more than one of these things.
  • Phone
    • Pretty sure the neighbors are calling 911 already, but if it's by the door I'll give you a pass.
  • Purse
    • I've seen women's purses - this is the equivalent of me saying I'd grab "my stuff". How big is your purse? What's in it? Good lord, for all I know you've got a pup tent in that thing.
  • Car Keys
    • Meh... once again, if they're on the way out. Besides, if you can't find them they're probably in your purse.
  • My journal of current
    • Hmm... not conventional English. Tough to make a call here.
  • A Wreck this journal
    • Wait, you're going to wreck the journal you just grabbed? Why? The fire would have done that for you! This woman must be a spy, it's the only reason you would grab something from a fire for the express reason of making sure it was destroyed.
  • 3 notes books which hold ideas for my current book
    • Is your book titled "20 Ways to Waste Time in a Burning House"?
    • I'll cut her some slack here, it would suck to lose those if a lot of work went into them. Of course, I wouldn't bump into this problem because a) I do everything digitally since I type 970x faster than I write, and b) There is no b.
  • A Buddha - Just to keep me grounded
    • I don't know how enlightened this choice is.
  • A writing book folder that holds all letters from Salma, along with writing pad,pens(selection of colours, envelopes and stamps. There is also a black notebook.
    • I don't know who Salma is so I'll assume she meant Santa. I hate to break it to you honey, but there is no Santa. Ouch... at 22 that's gotta hurt. Not as much as hell's devilish flames though.
  • Book -  The Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson
    • Sorry, could you say that again?
  • Book -  The Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson
    • That's what I thought you said. Look, I know how awesome it looks to have this on your list, but I could have Alfred Lord Tennyson himself in my house and I wouldn't grab him.
  • Hardrive
    • Sigh... just back-up offsite ok? If not can you at least put this by the door?
  • Selection of family photos.
    • You may want to select them beforehand. Just sayin'.
  • I would have included a pet in this but I couldn’t decide between the 7 dogs our family has accumulated over the last 10 years.
    • Let me get this straight. Your phone, purse, car keys, camera, photos, books... dear god, all of it ranks ahead of living breathing animals? For crying out loud, are you telling me that you're saving photos of animals you left behind to burn? Good lord. The least you could do is keep a Yorkie in your purse at all times, just in case.
  • Now I would have said  my macbook, digital pentax camera and various other things but I feel that they way me down and I always have insurance- this list of things as something that could not be replaced with the memories and ideas they hold.
    • Here's a tip: The only things that actually hold a memory in the literal sense is the dogs, and their last memory is going to be of you condemning them to a flaming demise.

Contestant #2

Name: Amanda Huginkiss
Age: 23
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Artist

  • My boyfriend Guy. (not pictured.) - For living love.
    • First person on the website to include another human being. That might mean something. At any rate, no complaints with this one. And you didn't need to specify that it was a guy, we're non-judgmental over here at Complete Tangent.
  • A Prism- See artwork (above).
    • Yeaaahhh... not so sure including it in the picture is gonna change my opinion here.
  • A picture of my mother from pre-Islamic revolution Iran, before they made her wear a headscarf.  -She is a Leo, and has a head of prize-worthy hair.
    • That's totally fine, although the astrological comment seems a bit random.
  • A Yemenese bedouin necklace found in Egypt. - To touch the hands of other lands.
    • You found it because someone lost it. They got over it, so will you.
  • 6 copies of the Theosophist from 1919. - To keep it mystical.
    • Hmm... maybe the astrological stuff wan't such an aberration. Look, I'm gonna drop some knowledge for this girl. When the building is burning, you don't need six copies of anything, let alone a magazine about theosophy. And I don't even know what that is. 
  • Passport/Wallet/Car Keys - To keep on the move.
    • Ok, you get a pass. But only because they keep you on the move.
  • Thoth tarot deck from the year I was born, given to me by my friend’s mother. - For divination.
    • You're into fortune telling? Let me try: "You're going to burn to death".
  • My Yashica t4 with a waist level viewfinder and Canon AE-1 with a telephoto lens.  - For spying and secrets.
    • What is it with spies on this website? Also, maybe consider house insurance?
  • Undeveloped film - Must have just been shot because I never let it sit for long.  Well, because I never sit for long.
    • Yes... let's salvage things when YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY ARE!
  • My external hard drive with copies of all the artwork I’ve ever made. - To prove I have existed, do exist and will keep existing.
    • All together everyone: "OFF-SITE BACKUP!"
  • My All-Saints leather motorcycle jacket. - It’s probably already on my person.
    • Motorcycle jackets are meant to protect you in the event of an accident. I'm gonna say that dying in a fire because you were looking for one is pretty ironic.
  • Watercolor set. - Because painting is meditation.
    • Absolutely. How would one ever go about replacing a watercolour set?
  • A hand carved bamboo flute given to me by my lover Guy from a rasta man at the farmer’s market.
    • I honestly can't improve on that joke.
  • A mini sized copy of The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. - For the reminder of universal truths.
    • Here's another universal truth: You can buy everything on Amazon. $2.00 used, I looked it up.
  • My vintage Zeiss Ikon and Kodak Retinette - Because I like my images exposed improperly, blurry and dreamy.
    • I think you might be getting smoke inhalation already.
  • My Moleskine notebook - For the mark of man is the mark of culture.
    • Amazon, $9.60.
  • An original copy of In Search of The Miraculous - Because I too, am a student of Gurdjieff.
    • Pretty much par for the course at this point.
  • A Turquoise, Coral, and Lapis Lazuli necklace handmade for me by a Sikh in Rishikesh, India. To balance my creative energies.
    • You better get really creative about ways to get out of your house at this point.
  • My Macbook Pro Laptop, iPhone & iPod- Because this is the temporary contemporary human condition.
    • Well this one's a stunner. You're telling me that someone who saves prisms from burning fires, paints watercolours, and is into philosophy, photography, and fortune-telling; is also a Mac person? I never would have thought! I mean, what else says artsy and counterculture like buying electronics for 25% above competitor prices from the world's largest tech company who pays their store staff crap wages, has factories in China where there are fences on the roof so people will stop killing themselves at work, and who's entire business model is based on planned obsolescence of goods so that you're throwing stuff in the garbage at the fastest possible rate, not to mention forcing any companies who build apps for their platforms to give them 30% of their profits. But hey, at least you're counterculture because your laptop is white and has a cool logo on it JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE'S AT THE STARBUCKS!
    • Sorry... I've needed to get that off my chest for a while.
  • A hand-paintedtaxidermied seahorse in a glass bottle. - I made two of these, it’s counterpart is with a very special person.
    • Why would you paint a taxidermied seahorse?
  • Wild Rose Spray - Because I don’t want to smell like smoke after the escape.
    • I hate to break it to you honey - you're not escaping.

Contestant #3

Name: Rafael Naganamakitoutalive
Age: 22
Location: Guaiba, RS - BR
Occupation: quality inspector (ed - sweet, sweet irony)

  • Dani Löble’s drumstick, Helloween drummer
    • No, gone. Off the team.
  • Photo of the class 302, PREMEM 2006
    • You'll always have the memories Rafa, but only if you leave it behind
  • Necktie of 15 years Mariah’s party in Campinas
    • Only if you're wearing it.
  • Aline Lima correspondence of RJ
    • This must be code... damn spies. I shall respond in kind: Uptight the stickbug, peru, Peru.
  • Mug of aluminum FESTIVAL of CHOPP, FELIZ 2007
    • A mug? Why the hell would you want a mug?
  • Cup of coffee
    • Oh, I see. To hold your coffee. I don't think you understand the rate at which fire burns.
  • Screwdrivers, Phillips screwdriver and wire cutter
    • Where do you live? Are you getting out of your house or escaping from a prison camp?
  • Tennis football
    • I don't know what this is, but it better be made out of one large diamond.
  • GRÊMIO t-shirt
    • I'm beginning to question the quality of the things you inspect.
  • A bottle of tequila Jose Cuervo
    • I notice that the bottle in the picture is half-empty. I can only assume you drank the other half while making this list. For future reference though, if you're going to save tequila from a fire at least make sure it's not the worst tequila on the planet. This is the equivalent of me racing back into my burning home so I can grab that six-pack of Old Milwaukee sitting behind the milk.
  • Boxing gloves
    • Do you have any idea what can and can't be purchased in stores?
  • Bag with a digital camera
    • I'm close to giving up on this guy.
  • Tennis bull terrier
    • I don't know if that's a dog, but I'm going to assume it is just so I can give this guy one in the "win" column.
  • Targus Backpack
    • Sigh...
  • HP12C Calculator
    • "Let's see... 394,200,000 breaths remaining in my life, minus 394,199,996..."
  • Muay thai t-shirt
    • It better help you kick your way through the burning timbers.
  • ticket of Helloween & Stratovarius show
    • Dude really likes Helloween.
  • Bracelet mezzanine of the show’s Helloween & Stratovarius
    • Ok, you need to chill on the Helloween.
  • Pencil and eraser
    • WTF?
  • Helloween album, Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I
    • Shouldn't you also be saving the membership list for your Helloween fan club?
  • Avantasia album, The Scarecrow
    • I'm not familiar with Helloween's work, but The Scarecrow sure sounds like it could be one of their albums.
  • Mobile Sansumg with headphones
    • For the record, if you ever buy a phone that says it was made by "Sansumg" it may not be a knock-off, it's just that this guy was handling quality inspection.

Finally, let's finish with one guy who gets it right. I'm even using his real name:

Our Winner

Name: Max Piantoni
Age: 23
Location: Melbourne, Australia.
Occupation: Artist
  • Escape Plan (very important).
  • My life’s work (on a hard drive).
  • A Dodo I made (for a series of pictures).

I'll even give him a pass on the dodo. It's pretty sweet.

For the record, here's my list of things I would grab in the event of a fire:

  • Erika
  • My meds

That's the end of the list. Even the meds are negotiable if they aren't easily accessible. Granted, I may end up having my martinis Bond-style for a couple of weeks*, but that's a hell of a lot better than going up like a roman candle. You can't eff-around with open flames when you're as hairy as I am.

*Note that not everyone will get that joke. I'm pretty sure Craig will though.