Putting Out the Vibe Random observations from my day-to-day life

September 25, 2014

Data Abuse – How to cope when your loved ones have a usage problem

In honor of our -1 month wedding anniversary today, I’ve been reflecting on some of the major milestones in our relationship (see below).

Relationship Timeline

Arguably, the most significant date on this timeline, 11/15/13, has also proven to be one of the most bewildering. Little did I know, when considering the (mediocre) cost savings that only a “family” plan could provide, that I was entering into an inequitable relationship. I’m now a firm believer that cell phone companies should be required to provide historical data usage to potential family plan members.

We started with what seemed to be a very sufficient 4 GB of data. Thinking back to my early Napster days, this would have put me somewhere in the ballpark of downloading 1,000–1,600 Dispatch songs/month. A few months ago, I added a GB and now it appears we need another one. I was discussing this conundrum with Greg a few weeks ago and, after comparing my usage versus hers, he requested a blog post on the topic.

Cell Data Usage

Cellular Data Usage by Month

I’ve tried a lot of interventions – forcing her to connect to wifi in public places, changing her facebook settings to not automatically play videos unless connected to wifi, turning off her cellular data altogether – and it doesn’t seem to curb the usage. I have so many unanswered questions… What is she doing all day? How much data could liking an Instagram post possibly use? How many things can one person possibly pin to their Pinterest board in one month? How many pictures does she send to her sister per day (a lot for the record)?

If anyone would like to join our framily plan, let me know.

December 29, 2011

Wedding Season

Weddings got real this year.  Real real.  So I plotted out my wedding attendance (to the best of my memory).  Check out that exponential growth (directly proportional to the amount of money I spent on wedding presents)!

 My Wedding Attendance Graph

 

1996

  • Laurie & Stan*

2003

2005

2008

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

  • Doug & Lindsay
  • Dre & Tom
  • Shelby & Ethan
  • Jessica & Steve
  • Chris & Molly
  • Ashley & Rob
  • Our Wedding

2015

  • Mike & Jenna
  • Kailey & Al
  • Katie & Kyle
  • Bailey & Cody
  • Erin & Justin
  • Dan & Kerstin
  • Sam & Natalie
*Ring bearer *Crashed, not really invited

Why did my friends take a break in 2009?

October 28, 2011

The Packers Season Ticket Waitlist: Only a lifetime away

During the month of October, a lot of people (9,786 in Oct 2010) read my blog because of my blog post about possible Halloween costumes.  Throughout the rest of the year, my brother is pretty much the only reader.  So Dave, this one’s for you.  Towards the end of my High School career (not sure exactly when), I did what everyone else in the state of Wisconsin does – I added Dave and I to the Green Bay Packers Season Ticket Waitlist.  Ironically, in the days before stubhub and ebay, our Dad had a chance at some Packers tickets while he and our Mom lived in California for a few years.  If he found a way to pick them up, today I’d probably be sitting in section 120, row 10.  Roughly 30 years later, Dave and I got in on the ground floor of a 70,000 story building but the length of the season ticket waiting list has increased over the years. How long is the Packers Season Ticket Waitlist?

Every year, the Packers send Waitlist members a postcard to let you know where you stand on the list.  I haven’t always tracked my progress but in wading through facebook posts and old e-mails to Dave about our status, I was able to dig up the following data.
 

Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Season Ticket Waitlist Number 65,959 Data
unavailable
64,276 Data
unavailable
62,556 62,139 61,656 61,206 55,995 55,250 54,768
Estimated Year of Receiving Tickets   2082.5 2089.1 2095.2 2101.2 2094.6* 2094.4 2097.4

*Assumes no other seating expansions

Packers Season Ticket Waitlist Graph
 
The linear trendline for this data, y = -1172.4x + 68238, has an inflated slope because of the 2013 7,641 seat expansion which resulted in ≈5,000 season ticket holders receiving tickets.  This means a couple of things:

  1. Our true slope (excluding 2013) suggests an average decrease of 664.44 spots per year (not 1,172 spots/year as the linear trendline suggests).
  2. Finding the x-intercept (excluding 2013) suggests that our name will likely come up in ≈82.4 years (the year 2097.4).
  3. Winning clearly doesn’t help our cause. Unfortunately, an exponential trendline may provide a better fit but it’s just too depressing. I’m hoping that fluctuations in the Packers’ performance will smooth this out over time, making the linear trendline a better estimate. As a fan, however, I’m not sure I can handle fluctuations in their performance.

I’ll be sure to update this graph each year for the rest of my life…then pass it on to my grandchildren.

And for the record, I’m one spot ahead of Dave on the list.

February 13, 2010

A revealing year’s end…

Filed under: Growing Up,Halloween — Tags: , , — Matthew @ 1:09 am

A friend of mine recently told me that my posts should be shorter and more frequent.  Unfortunately life’s been too busy lately and I haven’t even had time for this.  I suppose I’ll give it a whirl
.

  Top Credit Card Transactions of 2009 My Defense
1 STADIUMBAR I had to front my whole Stadium Bar volleyball team’s entrance fee (and they have a pitcher race).
2 WAL-MART US STORES Walmart is too cheap and I’m too poor.
3 KOHL CENTER ATHLETIC O/L Badger basketball
4 PAYPAL PRO My Halloween costume
5 AMOCO CAT CES I don’t drive a hydrogen car
6 RILEY’S WINES Riley has good wine
7 STATE STREET BRATS Wing Night
8 AMAZON.COM LLC Duh…
9 COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT San Diego Interview
10 EXXONMOBIL CAT OUTSIDE My car is green but not “green”
11 KOHLS 223 Clearance rack
12 RESIDENCE INN Portland Interview
13 SPEEDWAY/SUPERAMERI-CAT I hate the environment
14 AMYS CAFE INC Half price drinks
15 KARAOKE KID The real KK needs no explanation…

I have a feeling that once I’m out of school my days of having the Stadium Bar as my number one transaction are numbered.  I do have valid reasons for everything on the list though.  This “short” post ended up being medium length.  Good thing my project team chose to meet at 9:00 AM tomorrow (Saturday)…

October 12, 2009

Television Revolution: The programs that ran my life

The Disney Afternoon: 1991 Lineup

The Disney Afternoon: 1991 Lineup

Throughout my life, quality lineups of TV programming seem to take an interesting hold on my day-to-day activities.  Here’s the progression as I remember it in what I like to call my own Television Revolution: The programs that ran my life.

1991: The Disney Afternoon
3:00 – Duck Tales
3:30 – Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers
4:00 – Tale Spin
4:30 – Darkwing Duck
In 1992, Duck Tales was moved to weekday mornings and was replaced with Goof Troop (more quality Disney programming).  Although I missed Duck Tales, I liked Goof Troop so much that when my family went to Disney world in 1994 I remember crying when Goofy’s autograph smeared because I thought it was that valuable.
Reason I Didn’t Miss it:  At this phase of my life I really had nothing else going on from 3:00 until 5:00 (especially in the winter).  Plus, these shows were easy to have on in the background while I played with Legos.

1993-95: TGIF
8:00 – Family Matters
8:30 – Boy Meets World
9:00 – Step by Step
9:30 – Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
Although TGIF started in 1988 and included three shows that I barely remember, it became a staple of my elementary school Friday nights.  The 1990-91 lineup of Full House, Family Matters, Dinosaurs (think “not the momma”), and Step by Step was stellar in its own right, but I believe that the real TGIF glory days came from 1993-95.  Boy Meets World is such quality programming that I made it my routine to catch it at 1:00 AM on the Disney Channel when I got home from the library during my junior year of college.  Some nights I felt like I was learning more from Mr. Feeny than I was from my Physics book.  Then the Disney Channel began playing Hannah Montana reruns in the 1:00 AM timeslot and, despite an angry e-mail to the Disney channel, hasn’t been on since.
Reason I Didn’t Miss it:  I didn’t want to be left out of the conversation during Monday morning recess.  Plus, watching TGIF was a great excuse to have someone sleep over on a Friday night (we literally couldn’t come up with anything better to do on Fridays back then).

90s: Before School
Bobby’s World and eventually Rugrats (once I was mature enough) comprised my before school TV lineup.  There was no real “lineup” of programming in the mornings – I guess because they wanted kids to actually go to school.  As a side note, I now own Bobby’s World on DVD and it makes for great A-Bar entertainment.

1995-96: Must See TV
8:00 – Friends
8:30 – The Single Guy
9:00 – Seinfeld
9:30 – Caroline in the City (I guess)
10:00 – ER (I guess)
Another longstanding TV lineup, “Must See TV,” actually had its start in 1993.  Seinfeld easily dominated this lineup (unless you’re a woman and then you’d say Friends) and the second timeslot perennially sucked.  Actually, for about five years, I’m pretty sure that NBC planned to put whatever crappy shows they had lying around before and after Friends and Seinfeld.  I would give an honorable mention to Frasier, which made the lineup a few seasons, and a dishonorable mention to ER, which ran approximately 15 years too long.
Reason I Didn’t Miss it:  I would still consider Seinfeld to be the best show ever created and, although girly, Friends did have its moments.  By this time in my life I had regular homework and Thursday night television was the best form of procrastination I knew of since I still largely thought the internet was comprised of those channels that came with AOL.

Today: Television à la carte
Gone are the days when a lineup is of such quality that I actually schedule my whole day around it.  Today, if I want to catch one of my favorite shows (like The Office), I just tell my computer to record it.  The chances of there being two shows in a row that I want to watch are very unlikely.  Re-runs are plentiful and streaming video sites like Hulu and YouTube make watching Seinfeld extremely easy.  Today, when I want to watch shows like Dexter, Entourage, or The New Yankee Workshop (I’m probably the only viewer under 50 years old), I download them on torrents and am watching them a minute later.  Interesting that in 1992 I watched The Disney Afternoon because I had too much free time and today, there are too many shows available and the days are never long enough.

September 30, 2009

Delaware: Statistically the worst place to live

I finish grad school this spring.  Which means I will have to become a real person.  Which also means I’m currently in the midst of a job search.  As if this weren’t stressful enough, I also have the daunting task of figuring out where I want to live for the next few years.  I was thinking about this while sitting through a lecture on Utility Analysis of Healthcare Decisions last Friday and think I came up with a fool proof method. My conclusion: Delaware is the worst place to live in the US (from a completely unbiased, 23 year old, male perspective).  When it comes down to it, my criteria for choosing a place to live boil down to the following:

  1. Price of Beer
  2. Attractiveness of Women
  3. Cost of Living
  4. Weather
  5. Music Entertainment
  6. Sports Entertainment
Average Pint of Beer Price by State
Rank State Price/Pint
1 South Dakota $1.66
2 Arkansas $1.75
3 West Virginia $1.87
4 Mississippi $2.26
5 Iowa $2.32
6 Kentucky $2.34
7 Nebraska $2.41
8 Wisconsin $2.44
9 Illinois $2.45
11 Missouri $2.48
11 Kansas $2.48
12 Ohio $2.52
13 Michigan $2.56
15 Virginia $2.64
15 South Carolina $2.64
16 Pennsylvania $2.66
17 North Dakota $2.73
18 Texas $2.76
19 New Mexico $2.77
20 Maine $2.78
21 Montana $2.81
22 Florida $2.84
23 Utah $2.87
24 Tennessee $2.89
25 Arizona $2.91
26 North Carolina $2.92
27 New York $2.93
28 Louisiana $2.99
29 New Hampshire $3.01
30 Indiana $3.04
31 Minnesota $3.05
32 Alabama $3.08
33 Hawaii $3.10
34 Maryland $3.19
35 Vermont $3.30
36 Washington $3.34
37 Georgia $3.46
38 Oregon $3.57
39 California $3.58
42 Alaska $3.71
42 Oklahoma $3.71
42 Rhode Island $3.71
43 New Jersey $3.75
45 Massachusetts $3.86
45 Colorado $3.86
46 Delaware $4.12
47 Connecticut $4.29
48 Nevada $4.43
49 Idaho no data available
50 Wyoming no data available

1. Price of Beer
Beer currently constitutes a healthy chunk of my monthly credit card bill and, although I hope this spending will decrease when I become a real person, I’m sure it won’t disappear completely.  On Pintprice.com, users submit beer prices from cities all over the world and I was able to obtain hundreds of pint prices from US cities and calculate a per state average.

Limitations: Reporting of average pint price is voluntary, and therefore the sample size isn’t consistent; no data is available for Idaho and Wyoming (people must not drink there); the website didn’t indicate the recency of any of the prices.  Assumptions: Any submitted beer price <$1 was an outlier and therefore thrown out.

America’s Health Ratings by State
Rank State % Dev. from US Norm
1 Vermont 24.8
2 Hawaii 21.6
3 New Hampshire 19.9
4 Minnesota 18.8
5 Utah 18.2
6 Massachusetts 17.7
7 Connecticut 17.5
8 Idaho 16.1
9 Maine 15.3
10 Washington 14.9
11 Rhode Island 14
12 North Dakota 12.5
13 Nebraska 12
14 Wyoming 11.8
15 Iowa 11.6
16 Oregon 11.3
17 Wisconsin 10.3
18 New Jersey 9.8
19 Colorado 9.7
20 Virginia 9
21 South Dakota 7.5
22 Kansas 6.7
23 Montana 6.5
24 California 5.3
25 New York 3.8
26 Maryland 3.4
27 Michigan 2
28 Pennsylvania 2
29 New Mexico 1.7
30 Alaska 1.3
31 Illinois 0.8
32 Ohio 0.7
33 Arizona 0.4
34 Indiana -0.6
35 Delaware -1.6
36 North Carolina -3.2
37 Kentucky -3.6
38 Missouri -4.9
39 West Virginia -5
40 Alabama -7
41 Georgia -7.8
42 Nevada -7.9
43 Arkansas -8.1
44 Oklahoma -8.1
45 Florida -8.9
46 Texas -9
47 Tennessee -9.7
48 South Carolina -10.7
49 Mississippi -15
50 Louisiana -15.2

2. Attractiveness of Women
Since I’m single, this is an important one since I’m likely to date some ladies in my new home town and attractiveness would be a plus.  Also, my stock is probably only going down at this point.  I figured that a decent predictor of female attractiveness in my hypothetical new state would be America’s Health Ratings.  The data is expressed as a percent deviation from the national norm.

3. Cost of Living
In addition to beer prices being reasonable, since I’ll likely buy things other than beer once in a while, a low overall cost of living would probably be nice. The US Government’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), although not exactly cost of living, is a pretty good indicator of this.

Consumer Price Index (CPI) by State
Rank State Consumer Price Index (CPI)
1 Arizona 117.335
4 Maryland 140.810
4 Virginia 140.810
4 West Virginia 140.810
5 Alaska 190.032
6 Texas 196.175
7 Missouri 198.261
8 Kentucky 198.945
9 Kansas 199.152
10 Ohio 199.752
11 Indiana 200.244
12 Wisconsin 200.999
13 Georgia 203.351
14 Michigan 204.673
15 Florida 204.955
19 Iowa 205.632
19 Nebraska 205.632
19 North Dakota 205.632
19 South Dakota 205.632
20 Minnesota 206.167
21 Colorado 207.444
29 Alabama 209.000
29 Arkansas 209.000
29 Louisiana 209.000
29 Mississippi 209.000
29 North Carolina 209.000
29 Oklahoma 209.000
29 South Carolina 209.000
29 Tennessee 209.000
30 Pennsylvania 210.468
31 Illinois 211.441
32 Oregon 214.102
38 Idaho 219.884
38 Montana 219.884
38 Nevada 219.884
38 New Mexico 219.884
38 Utah 219.884
38 Wyoming 219.884
39 Delaware 226.039
40 Washington 227.138
42 Rhode Island 230.883
42 Vermont 230.883
43 New Jersey 232.161
46 Maine 233.018
46 Massachusetts 233.018
46 New Hampshire 233.018
47 Connecticut 235.650
48 New York 238.282
49 California 421.605
50 Hawaii 627.870

Assumptions: I would live near a large city in each state (since CPI represents urban areas).  Limitations: If no CPI state data was available, I took regional average (shown above in italic).

Average Days of Sunshine by State
Rank State Average Days/Year
1 Arizona 90.0
2 Nevada 79.0
3 New Mexico 71.0
4 Colorado 72.7
5 California 74.8
6 Utah 66.0
7 Florida 69.3
8 Kansas 65.8
9 Arkansas 68.3
10 Wyoming 67.3
11 Texas 69.8
12 Oklahoma 61.0
13 Idaho 63.0
14 Louisiana 63.0
15 Nebraska 63.5
16 South Dakota 64.0
17 Georgia 63.3
18 Mississippi 63.0
19 South Carolina 62.0
20 Virginia 62.3
21 North Carolina 62.5
22 Iowa 62.0
23 Hawaii 61.3
24 North Dakota 60.0
25 Montana 58.8
26 Missouri 58.5
27 Tennessee 58.0
28 Alabama 58.3
29 Rhode Island 58.0
30 Indiana 57.3
31 Illinois 57.4
32 Kentucky 58.5
33 Maine 57.0
34 Maryland 57.0
35 Connecticut 56.0
36 New Jersey 56.0
37 Massachusetts 57.0
38 Minnesota 58.0
39 Wisconsin 56.7
40 Pennsylvania 55.5
41 New York 53.8
42 Ohio 52.2
43 Michigan 51.3
44 Vermont 49.0
45 Oregon 48.0
46 Washington 49.8
47 New Hampshire 44.0
48 West Virginia 40.0
49 Alaska 38.3
50 Delaware no data available

4. Weather
Living in Wisconsin can be rough and when Winter seems to span from September until May during some years, it’s hard not to think about places like California and Florida.  Living in a place that has nicer weather that Wisconsin would probably improve my well-being (especially during January and February).  To analyze weather by state, I used the National Climate Data Center’s Average Percent of Possible Sunshine data.

Number of Concerts by State
Rank State Concerts
1 Missouri 2053
2 California 2048
3 New York 1439
4 Illinois 1207
5 Florida 696
6 Ohio 684
7 Pennsylvania 663
8 Massachusetts 646
9 Nevada 612
10 Texas 587
11 Washington 511
12 Michigan 439
13 Minnesota 362
14 New Jersey 313
15 Virginia 303
16 Maryland 274
17 Colorado 265
18 Georgia 250
19 Arizona 223
20 Louisiana 214
21 Tennessee 197
22 Oregon 187
23 North Carolina 185
24 Kentucky 152
25 Indiana 139
26 Wisconsin 133
27 Mississippi 130
28 Iowa 102
29 Connecticut 79
30 South Carolina 67
31 Alabama 64
32 Idaho 58
33 Kansas 57
34 New Mexico 57
35 Nebraska 25
36 West Virginia 25
37 Rhode Island 23
38 North Dakota 19
39 New Hampshire 11
40 Arkansas 10
41 South Dakota 9
42 Oklahoma 8
43 Wyoming 7
44 Hawaii 6
45 Maine 5
46 Alaska 3
48 Delaware 2
48 Vermont 2
50 Montana 1
50 Utah 1

5. Music Entertainment
Entertainment offered is crucial to having a social life outside of work and since I like concerts, plays, and especially Neil Diamond, I felt I needed to include this factor.  If cost of living is low, but there is nothing worthwhile to spend my extra money on anyway, I might as well just move back in with my parents.  To try to represent how many concerts are offered in each state, on 9-27-09, I searched ticketmaster.com for musical events in each state.

6. Sports Entertainment
Another important entertainment factor is how many sporting events I will be able to attend.  Therefore, I included in my analysis the total number of major professional sports teams in each state.

Pro Sports Teams by State
Rank State Pro Sports Teams
1 California 18
3 New York 10
3 Texas 10
4 Florida 9
5 Pennsylvania 8
7 Maryland 7
7 Ohio 7
9 Illinois 6
9 Missouri 6
11 Colorado 5
11 Massachusetts 5
16 Arizona 4
16 Georgia 4
16 Michigan 4
16 Minnesota 4
16 Wisconsin 4
19 North Carolina 3
19 Tennessee 3
19 Washington 3
24 Indiana 2
24 Louisiana 2
24 New Jersey 2
24 Oregon 2
24 Utah 2
25 Oklahoma 1

Assumptions: Since I would rather watch Wisconsin Badger football or basketball over any professional sport, I added an additional professional sport to Wisconsin’s total.  For geographic purposes, I included Washington D.C. as a part of Maryland.  Also, this data assumes that I care about the NBA.  In reality, in the last decade, I have really only attended pro football and baseball games.
Linear Transformation

Results

To compare results across the six criteria, I linearly transformed the data to a 0 to 100 scale.  The equation to obtain this new score is shown at right.  If low values were preferred instead of high values (such as price of beer and CPI), the result was subtracted from one before multiplying by 100.  After applying this transformation to the data, the following scores result.

State Price of Beer
Score
Attractive Women
Score
CPI
Score
Sunshine
Score
Concerts
Score
Pro Sports
Score
AVERAGE
SCORE
California
30.8
51.3
40.4
73.0
99.8
100.0
 
65.9
Missouri
70.5
25.8
84.1
44.0
100.0
33.3
 
59.6
New York
54.1
47.5
76.3
28.1
70.1
55.6
 
55.3
Arizona
54.8
39.0
100.0
100.0
10.8
22.2
 
54.5
Illinois
71.3
40.0
81.6
41.3
58.8
33.3
 
54.4
Texas
60.2
15.5
84.6
59.0
28.6
55.6
 
50.6
Florida
57.3
15.8
82.8
62.6
33.9
50.0
 
50.4
Pennsylvania
64.0
43.0
81.8
33.5
32.3
44.4
 
49.8
Utah
56.3
83.5
79.9
64.8
0.0
11.1
 
49.3
Minnesota
49.9
85.0
82.6
37.0
17.6
22.2
 
49.1
South Dakota
100.0
56.8
82.7
54.1
0.4
0
 
49.0
Ohio
68.8
39.8
83.9
28.0
33.3
38.9
 
48.8
Virginia
64.5
60.5
95.4
49.1
14.7
0
 
47.4
Wisconsin
71.8
63.8
83.6
34.9
6.4
22.2
 
47.1
Nebraska
73.0
68.0
82.7
54.6
1.2
0
 
46.6
Colorado
20.5
62.3
82.4
73.3
12.9
27.8
 
46.5
Maryland
44.7
46.5
95.4
40.2
13.3
38.9
 
46.5
Iowa
76.3
67.0
82.7
47.7
4.9
0
 
46.4
Massachusetts
20.6
82.3
77.3
37.0
31.4
27.8
 
46.1
Kansas
70.4
54.8
84.0
60.0
2.7
0
 
45.3
New Mexico
59.9
42.3
79.9
79.7
2.7
0
 
44.1
Michigan
67.6
43.0
82.9
24.9
21.3
22.2
 
43.7
Idaho
no data available
78.3
79.9
56.2
2.8
0
 
43.4
North Dakota
61.3
69.3
82.7
45.6
0.9
0
 
43.3
Arkansas
96.7
17.8
82.0
59.8
0.4
0
 
42.8
Maine
59.5
76.3
77.3
41.3
0.2
0
 
42.4
Washington
39.3
75.3
78.5
14.6
24.9
16.7
 
41.5
Wyoming
no data available
67.5
79.9
59.8
0.3
0
 
41.5
Vermont
40.7
100.0
77.8
24.2
0.0
0
 
40.5
North Carolina
54.6
30.0
82.0
48.4
9.0
16.7
 
40.1
Montana
58.6
54.3
79.9
45.0
0.0
0
 
39.6
Kentucky
75.5
29.0
84.0
41.3
7.4
0
 
39.5
Indiana
50.0
36.5
83.8
42.7
6.7
11.1
 
38.5
New Jersey
24.6
62.5
77.5
39.1
15.2
11.1
 
38.3
New Hampshire
51.2
87.8
77.3
12.5
0.5
0
 
38.2
Georgia
35.0
18.5
83.2
53.4
12.1
22.2
 
37.4
Tennessee
55.5
13.8
82.0
44.0
9.6
16.7
 
36.9
Rhode Island
25.9
73.0
77.8
43.4
1.1
0
 
36.9
Oregon
31.1
66.3
81.0
22.1
9.1
11.1
 
36.8
Mississippi
78.3
0.5
82.0
53.0
6.3
0
 
36.7
West Virginia
92.4
25.5
95.4
5.0
1.2
0
 
36.6
South Carolina
64.4
11.3
82.0
52.7
3.2
0
 
35.6
Louisiana
51.8
0.0
82.0
56.2
10.4
11.1
 
35.3
Nevada
0.0
18.3
79.9
82.4
29.8
0
 
35.1
Connecticut
5.0
81.8
76.8
39.1
3.8
0
 
34.4
Alabama
48.7
20.5
82.0
43.4
3.1
0
 
32.9
Oklahoma
25.9
17.8
82.0
58.4
0.3
5.6
 
31.7
Hawaii
48.1
92.0
0.0
46.1
0.2
0
 
31.1
Alaska
25.9
41.3
85.8
0.0
0.1
0
 
25.5
Delaware
11.1
34.0
78.7
no data available
0.0
0
 
24.8

In averaging the six criteria (instead of using a weighted average with importance ratings for each criteria) to calculate my overall state ranking, I’m assuming that they are of equal importance.  In reality, living somewhere with cheap beer is probably much more important than living somewhere with attractive women.  So there you have it.  It looks like I’ll be applying as much as possible in California, while avoiding Delaware like the plague.  Feel free to suggest any additional criteria that you think I should have included in my analysis.

Update 10-5-09: The complete data that I used to reach these results can be found here.

December 10, 2008

Love You Forever – World’s creepiest children’s book

Filed under: Creepiness,Growing Up — Tags: , — Matthew @ 2:31 pm

I’ve always liked children’s books because although simple, many of them carry great life lessons.  I was talking to my mom last week about books that I loved while I was growing up.  We actually disagreed when it came to what my favorite book was growing up.  In my mom’s memory, my favorite book was What Do Toddlers Do? or Blueberries for Sal.  However, without a doubt, in my memory, my favorite children’s book was always Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  While we disagreed on what my favorite book was, we agreed on one thing – that Love You Forever by Robert B. Munsch is creepy.  If you recall, it’s a story about a mother’s love for her son.  According to Richard Farr of Amazon.com,

“The mother sings to her sleeping baby: ‘I’ll love you forever / I’ll love you for always / As long as I’m living / My baby you’ll be.’ She still sings the same song when her baby has turned into a fractious 2-year-old, a slovenly 9-year-old, and then a raucous teen. So far so ordinary–but this is one persistent lady. When her son grows up and leaves home, she takes to driving across town with a ladder on the car roof, climbing through her grown son’s window, and rocking the sleeping man in the same way. Then, inevitably, the day comes when she’s too old and sick to hold him, and the roles are at last reversed.”

“So far so ordinary” indeed but it takes a turn for creeper-ville once the mom drives across town, breaks into her adult son’s house through his second floor window, and rocks him to sleep.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom, but if she drove over to my college apartment, broke through my second story window via a ladder, and tried to crawl into my bed with me, I’d be freaked out!  If you ask me, the main lesson of this book is probably that mothers and children should remain embarrassingly attached to each other and never grow up.  Here are the books that I did love, however, many of which probably have a lot to do with why I turned out the way I did.
love-you-forever-is-creepy

October 23, 2008

My childhood in a nutshell

I was thinking today about some of the toys that I loved growing up.  Since I was a pretty nerdy kid, I considered anything which required building or an engineering type obstacle course to pretty much be the Beez Knees.  Going way back, I loved my grandpa’s homemade wooden marble game which had a bunch of tracks the marbles would simply run down.  Later I graduated to Marble Run and I could spend hours “racing” the marbles down the courses that I set up.  This is probably also why I loved the K’NEX Big Ball Factory, a type of roller coaster obstacle course (I don’t know how else to describe it).  I even spent days creating alternate paths for the balls to go down.  Legos were at the foundation of my childhood and I may or may not still set up my Lego Trains around our Christmas Tree every year…  Finally, anyone who had one knows just how sweet Darda racetracks were and Dave and I would run tracks throughout the house that everyone would have to walk around. 

Lame Toys and Disappointments
No childhood is complete without incredibly lame toys and huge disappointments.  For example, I always wanted a Brio wooden train and would play with my friends every chance I got, but looking back, they seem pretty lame and I’m actually glad santa never got me one.  Second, remember the piece of crap that was Domino Rally?  Although commercials made it look like the coolest thing in the history of the world, IT SUCKED.  The wikipedia article about it even talk about how incredibly frustrating it was to try to set up because of the crappy dominos.  I remember being so frustrated by Domino Rally that I probably would have traded in my stuffed animal, Peep Peep, to get one of the Domino Dealers (sold separately of course) to set up the dominos.  I am very impressed by the video below, however.  Piece of crap number three: the game Mouse Trap.  Again, a sweet game in the commercials that disappointed thousands of children daily.  Finally, something that I’m still trying to figure out it why for about four months while I was in third grade did Pogs seem more popular than Monopoly.  For whatever reason though, at the time throwing “Slammers” at stacks of cardboard and trying to get them to flip over was exhilarating.  I still have my pog collection complete with slammers and even a Milk Cap Maker and recently checked out if I could get any dough for them.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much of a vintage pog market.  In fact, selling Pogs for decent money seems to be even harder than selling valuable baseball card collections (selling my Griffey Rookie card wasn’t even worth it).

August 22, 2008

Summer

Filed under: Baseball,Growing Up — Tags: , , — Matthew @ 2:35 pm

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how different Summer has been throughout my life and how different its meaning has been to me.  As far as I’m concerned, I’ve gone through many different Summer phases and here’s how I remember them.

Hahn's Lanes Hitters Teeball

Hahn's Lanes Hitters Teeball (Kindergarten)

Erb Park Summers (preschool-2nd grade)
From the time I was in diapers, until shortly after I decided it was no longer acceptable to watch Mr. Rogers, I lived in Appleton.  Appleton was a pretty cool place and Summer there was freakin awesome.  My mom didn’t work at this time, so although I remember her making me read a lot, I also remember her making pigs in a blanket, letting me dig huge holes in our backyard, letting me have lemonade stands and keep the profits, and her taking me to the Erb Park Pool whenever I wanted.  Erb Park was across the street from our house so pretty much all of my friends in the neighborhood hung out there every summer day and played sports and capture the flag.  I was also on the powerhouse that was the “Hahn’s Lanes Hitters” Teeball team and our games, which were played at my elementary school across the street from my Grandparents’ house, were also extremely high on my priority list during these summers.  To sum up, think The Sandlot, only I didn’t know anyone nearly as cool as Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez.

New Berlin Magic Baseball Team (4th grade)

New Berlin Magic Baseball (4th grade)

Early New Berlin Summers, my world shrunk to Sommerset Gardens (3-5th grades)
Moving to New Berlin was a bit of a shock because I really couldn’t ride my bike anywhere outside of my neighborhood.  I made a few friends in my neighborhood who I hung out with and I remember a lot of fishing with Jimmy at the tiny pond near the highway.  Baseball and my Dad’s grilled cheese sandwiches were still pretty much the most important things going on during these summers.  I also remember that the first year we formed the New Berlin Magic that we didn’t win a single tournament and our parents felt so bad for us that they bought us each a trophy at the end of the year.

The “Mom, can you drive me to _______’s house” Summers (6th grade-freshman year)
At the end of elementary school I began riding my bike to fast food restaurants (mainly taco bell) for lunch (a pretty big step in New Berlin).  This meant 2 things…  I was also still very devoted to playing baseball on the New Berlin Magic and my friends on the team pretty much composed the majority of my social life.  Our baseball team’s night games at Malone Park were awesome and it made all of us feel like we were actually a big deal to have attractive girls from Middle School come to the games.  These were the last few summers that my brother was around, so that was always fun too.

The Basement Summers (sophomore-senior years)
I still had no legitimate job to speak of (which was spectacular) and I would umpire the occasional little league game/weekend tournament when I felt like it.  Mainly I remember eating at Oakland Gyros a lot with G and going to Kopps Custard and/or Taco Bell almost every night because I was trying to gain weight for football (a strange concept now).  “Pool” Tournaments in my basement were a great excuse to eat way to much food andstay up all night (but Port always cheated).  Whenever Joe used the line “we’re going to have a Star Wars Marathon” with his parents we all knew we were in for a good night.  I hung out with Chris a lot and our bands practiced all the time, including “Skanorrhea, the musically transmitted disease.”  My ideal day during this time (and still probably my ideal day) consisted of going to the beach (or Kallio’s pool), eating all you can eat pizza at Marty’s, and then volleyball at Malone and/or hanging out in a basement for the rest of the night.  Summerfest was a great 2 week span too and in addition to seeing some great performances we got really good at sneaking water bottles through the gates.

The _______’s Parents are out of town Summer (after freshman year of college)
Straight off freshman year we all felt the need to pretend like we were still at college after we came home for the summer.  This meant that much of our day to day activities revolved around whose parents were out of town.  My typical day at this time consisted of swimming in Kallio’s pool in the afternoon, waiting tables at Houlihan’s for the dinner shift, and then playing volleyball at Malone until the lights went off at midnight and we all had to struggle to gather our belongings in the dark.

Summer of Sommer in Denver (after sophomore year)
My summer in Denver doing an internship with the Denver Children’s hospital was a great one.  First of all, it was the first time I lived with my brother since I was in seventh grade.  This turned out great and not only did we live together, but Dave served as my landlord, teammate on volleyball and softball teams, trainer, supervisor at work, and karaoke partner.  Looking back I’m a little surprised we didn’t burn out after spending so much time together.  Since I was only in Colorado for a summer though, we tried to fit in as much activity as possible.  This meant Rockies games with Martha and Kyle, parties at my cousin’s house, lot’s of bar league softball teams, fly fishing trips, whitewater rafting, climbing numerous fourteeners (and participating in a high altitude rescue mission), etc.  There was really never a shortage of things to do and the summer was one of my best.

The Pretending to be a real person summers (last summer and the present)
The last two summers I’ve done internships/worked in Madison.  One of these summers felt like it lasted for seven months because I took the semester off to do it.  This was great at first.  I literally did whatever I wanted.  I bought a short bus, built a 1000 lb. pool table in my attic, and designed a pregame parties website.  Eventually though all of my free time without homework became a sort of obligation to go out all the time.  I literally had no good excuse if people called me to go to the Essen Haus on a week night and as a result I was hung over many a day sitting at my desk.  This was the time I began drinking coffee – not as a luxury, but as a necessity.  Summer was fun though and I hung out with Matt a lot, went sailing, went to the Terrace, and pretty much just enjoyed Madison Summer.  This summer I took two classes and worked about 20-30 hours a week.  I thought it would be great, but it was a lot more work than I anticipated.  Nonetheless, weekends were still great, making it to Colorado, going up north to “Jon Fest” with my brother’s friends, camping, and for the first time had weddings of FRIENDS to go to (strange).  Unfortunately any documentation I had of these events disappeared when I got robbed three weeks ago.

Helping my dad mow the lawn in Appleton

Helping my dad mow the lawn in Appleton

So what?
Maybe I’m just tired of the classes I’m trying to take this summer, but what I’d give to go back to the Erb Park Summers.  Don’t get me wrong, Summer is still my favorite time of year, but it means something so different to me now than it did when I was a kindergartner, whose only real worry was whether or not Megan from around the corner was able to play that day.  I’ve never liked school (even preschool) so summer has always meant for me a break from the stress of another school year/semester.  I’m sure even when I’m a real person I’ll still love summer time because the world just seems to slow down and enjoy itself, but I can’t help but feel that the summer feeling that I’ve enjoyed over the years is slipping further and further away.  Maybe all I need to do is go to the beach, ride my bike to Taco Bell, and have a lemonade stand in my front yard, just like the old days.

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